Chauen, Chefchauen or Chefchaouen is known as the Blue Pearl of Morocco. It is located in the northwest of the country, near Tetouan and Tanger, in the mountains of the Rif. It is built in a valley and it has around 40.000 inhabitants.
Like Fez, its original population is formed by immigrants from al-Andalus, both Muslim and Jewish, so it has a certain similarity with some Andalusian towns such as Frigiliana or Mojacar, with narrow, irregular streets and whitewashed houses with blue tones. Many of its inhabitants speak Spanish, since it was also one of the main bases of the Spanish army.
The oldest part of Chefchaouen is located in the highest part of the mountain and the new part of it has been built further down, next to the old city.
We may enjoy a tour through its Medina, across the arch-shaped gate, and we will continue by the main Street, which crosses the city from east to west.We can walk along its streets, making some stops to buy in its small shops full of all kinds of Moroccan handicrafts, and we can visit the square of Uta al-Hammam. This square is the center of the Medina, it is always very busy because it’s full of cafes and restaurants, and here may also delight your eyes with the Grand Mosque of the 15th Century. Near the square, we can also find one of the oldest Fondouks in Morocco. The Fondouks are buildings in which the merchants who brought their products to sell in the markets, could stay together with their animals (dromedraries, etc). The Fondouk Chfichou, is a building of the Sixteenth or Seventeenth century, in which we can access through a large gate, a central courtyard, two side rooms and about 50 rooms that work as workshops and warehouses. Also on the upper floor, we can find the bedbrooms.
It is very important that the authorities take care of this Fondouk, since it is in danger of disappearing.
We continue in our walk climbing to the waterfall and the washing rooms. It is usual to find local people washing the carpets or cooling off in the pools, which are formed when the water is going down.
You can be climbed to its highest point where the Springs of Ras al-Ma are located.