By Kelly Stavropoulou
Even if you’ve seen pictures on Pinterest or Instagram, you don’t expect to see a city that’s actually dressed all in blue. Only if you visit Chefchaouen, or the blue pearl of Morocco, do you realize that indeed in this place every cobbled street, every roof and narrow balcony is painted in some shade of blue.
Blue, iridescent, deep and dark, bright and optimistic, of the sea or the sky, blue in all its manifestations, blue in all its glory. If you pass a different time in the day, from exactly the same spot, you don’t recognize it because the light transforms the hue of every corner. So, every moment a new performance, in the same place.
The city is three hours from Fez, and no, it’s not the easiest place to do tourism – although there are plenty of tourists. But here, you forget the to-do list and just live in the moment, where the cyan hue takes you. “You empty your mind, fill your imagination and your soul,” writes a travel blogger who visited the Moroccan city recently. The only thought that swirls persistently in your mind is, inevitably and plausibly, why this city is painted blue.
The answer is not one. There are versions. Some say that blue keeps pesky mosquitoes away. Others claim that the Jews, seeking refuge from Hitler, fled here and painted everything blue because it is the color that symbolizes heaven and spiritual vigilance. Some locals, again, claim that in the 1970s they picked up the paintbrushes in order to make their town more attractive to tourists. Regardless of the scenarios, we can only have an opinion for now. And what is indeed true is that the experience of Chefchaouen is experienced as a dream realized by every traveler; whether they are prepared and loaded with expectations or just passing through.