THE BLUE GEM
Docked beneath the rugged hilltops of the Riff mountain range, Chefchaouen is Morocco's blue-washed city hidden in a remote, peaceful valley. The old medina is a balance between ancient Moroccan and Andalucian influence, with red-tiled roofs, vibrant cobalt buildings and narrow cascading lanes. Based on its strategic location in the northwest tip of Morocco, the city was founded as a defensive fortress in the 15th century. But eventually, along with the Ghomara tribes of the region, many Moriscos and Arab Jews settled here after the Spanish Reconquista in medieval times. Undoubtedly, this striking town has many historic tales to tell. But Chefchaouen's blue houses have been the most popular topic of interest. The most logical explanation is that the Jewish community introduced the colour blue to the authentic Bedouin town, to symbolise the sea and sky. Whatever the reason, Chefchaouen is an ethereal landscape, defying gravity with snug vistas over the horizon.