Imagine an entire city with most of the walls, stairways, doors, houses — and gravestones, too — painted blue. Welcome to Chefchaouen, Morocco. It may be the most beautiful city I’ve ever seen.
Theories differ as to what prompted this local custom. Some say Jewish people painted things blue when they moved here in the 1930s to get away from Hitler. Others say the color discourages mosquitoes. Blue has historically been a spiritual color and some believe the extensive use of it becomes a constant reminder to live a spiritual life. It’s strange that the origin of all this blue remains a mystery.
The city name is pronounced “shef CHOW win” though Moroccans refer to it as ‘chaouen.
Gretchen grew up in Harlingen, Texas, which is in the southern tip of the state. She has lived in Syria, Cairo or Turkey for much of her adult life.
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