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Chefchaouen, Morocco......

A colourful town in the Rif mountains.......

sunny 30 °C

Chefchaouen is a town dating back to the 14th century, first built around a small waterfall ( Ras el Mal) gushing out of a hole in the side of the mountain which provided a reliable source of water to sustain life in the hot summer months. It existed largely unknown to the outside world until the Spanish invaded in 1921, prior to this date visitors were denied entry on penalty of death!

Nowadays, it is the centre of the hashish ( marijuana) industry with farms dotted around the surrounding mountainsides growing the weed for export to Europe and beyond, there is a substantial Jewish population, originally refugees from the Medieval Spanish inquisition and general persecution in Andalusia, Spain, today their properties in the town can be recognised by the decoration of blue paint which enhances the colourful aspect of the old Medina.

Chefchaouen Morocco, the town on the mountainside

Chefchaouen Morocco, the town on the mountainside

Chefchaouen Kasbah in centre of town

Chefchaouen Kasbah in centre of town

In the centre of the Medina, Plaza Uta Hammam, stands the old Kasbah fort, recently restored as a tourist attraction with its creepy old dungeon and museum....

Chefchaouen Kasbah in centre of town

Chefchaouen Kasbah in centre of town

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In the same location, Plaza Uta Hammam is a large cafe where the farm labourers take their rest by smoking Kif pipes and drinking mint tea or coffee...

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The ancient Medina is a colourful place to explore many small shops, restaurants, and cafes, but the narrow cobbled streets can be a steep climb and slippery in wet weather, so explorations should be planned for a dry sunny day, if possible......

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There are several gates for access to the Medina, the two most impressive are Bab el Ain and Bab Souk ( the market gate)

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By passing through Bab Ongar, the trail leads to the waterfall, from which the newly-restored old donkey track is an easy climb up to the "Bouzafar" Spanish mosque, built by the hands of "infidels" it was never used by local people for prayer, a few years ago it had fallen into disrepair, but has now been restored by Spanish government funding. The trail passes a small habitation including a bore well and communal bread oven before continuing up to the mosque.....

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If time is short the visitor can take a shortcut back down from the mosque to the town through a disused cemetery " El Elouafi" where some of the many small graves are those of children buried over a century ago, revealing widespread infant mortality in this region......

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Another more ambitious trek is to either Al Kalaa village, passing much rural scenery and activity, or the more demanding longer hike to Azilan village, both are on gravel piste which makes progress on foot more time-consuming, in Al Kalaa village is an interesting old mosque "Chrifyene" now abandoned and leaning to one side, the foundations undermined by heavy winter rainfall. The road up to Hotel Chaouen Atlas, Rue Sidi Abdelhamid is the the starting point for this trek, after passing the campsite the piste forks either straight on to Al Kalaa or right up to Azilan.....large_4a551790-b2b7-11e8-a73f-e1d444bea57e.jpglarge_8f451a30-b2b7-11e8-a73f-e1d444bea57e.jpglarge_c3160680-b2b7-11e8-a73f-e1d444bea57e.jpglarge_ec857a50-b2b7-11e8-a73f-e1d444bea57e.jpglarge_14e022c0-b2b8-11e8-a73f-e1d444bea57e.jpglarge_368b5e30-b2b8-11e8-a73f-e1d444bea57e.jpglarge_61c1fd70-b2b8-11e8-a73f-e1d444bea57e.jpglarge_99f44810-b2b8-11e8-a73f-e1d444bea57e.jpglarge_d686df90-b2b8-11e8-a73f-e1d444bea57e.jpg

Chefchaouen can be reached from Tangier on a two hour Grand taxi journey or by buses terminating at the Gare Routiere ( bus station) on Avenue Maghreb Arabe, a steep mile walking up to the town centre, the small bus station has toilets, a cafe and shop and a police post......

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The town on the mountainside is also an excellent shopping experience, and bargains are to be discovered almost anywhere along the narrow blue streets, more specifically there are carpet and clothing shops in Calle Ahorra and Rue Targui, both streets leading off the main Medina square Plaza Uta Hammam, haggling is the order of the day, but prices are surprisingly lower than those in other Moroccan cities........
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Posted by Bennytheball 01:28 Archived in Morocco Tagged mountains

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Looks like a beautiful place. I like the blue colour which is on so many of the buildings. Hope you are on the mend and feeling better. Most of my day has been spent battling a blocked pipe and an over-flowing washing-machine. Not much of a day off. All the best, Irene

by irenevt

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