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Chefchaouen the international city of photography

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What makes Chefchaouen so special? And what’s the best time to visit a colourful mountain town? You will find answers in our article dedicated to the unknown city that charms thousands of Chinese, German, and photography lovers, to the point where a foreign association has suggested organizing the International World Photography Festival.

chefchaouenowes its colourful painting to the Muslims who fled Andalusia to the north of Morocco at the end of the 15th century.

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Where is Chefchaouen?

The small town of Chefchaouen is located in the northwest of Morocco, nestled between two imposing mountain peaks that gave their name to the town under the name of the “two horns”. the city is now an ideal place for photography.

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What makes Chefchaouen so special?

chefchaouen is an international city of photography, and According to the inhabitants, the intense blue that adorns almost every corner of the medina here is supposed to chase away the evil eye and protect people from evil – a popular belief that has become the biggest trademark of the mountain town and inspires people all over the world.
At the same time, the city is not only convincing by the cheerful colours of its walls and gates: visitors can stroll through the narrow streets of the medina at any time of the day, follow the beautiful smells of oriental spices or buy homemade jewellery or fine fabrics in small shops. In addition, the small town, along with other parts of the Mediterranean, has been awarded for its traditional cuisine and is considered an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO since 2013.

When is the best time to visit Chefchaouen?

This is where travellers experience the most hours of sunshine between May and August. Temperatures rarely fall below 25 degrees, and rain clouds rarely gather. Those who arrive during Ramadan will discover Morocco from a completely different perspective. to visit chefchaouen, in the evening, the quiet mountain town of Chefchaouen awakens to new life and especially at the end of the month of fasting, great festivals take place.

Chefchaouen, and without any doubt, a haven of peace for photographers, in search of a magical moment, Chefchaouen the world city of photography, the photos are caught like fish. Sit down, feel the pulse of the city, guess the right moment. And sometimes in his nets, a beautiful catch.

Shady alleyways, labyrinthine stairs, two mountain horns embellish the setting. Women in slippers, languid cats, old people savouring the passing of time. The bursts of voices of a bunch of kids ring out at the bend of a fountain. In Chefchaouen, the street is ultraphotogenic. Just sit down, wait a while, take the pulse of the town. the photos will be waiting for you somewhere. you’ll feel it. and be convinced, this is the international city of photography, it’s promised.

Chefchaouen, photogenic medina

Testimony: “I learned it later, from Edouard Boubat’s mouth: photos pre-exist the photographer. They are there, somewhere, waiting to be captured. It’s up to him to go and meet them. You have to be distracted like a stroller, attentive like a fisherman, and press the shutter release like you catch a fish. And in his nets, sometimes, a beautiful catch ”

The first thing to do in Chefchaouen is to go for a walk…

chefchaouen the international city of photography

A picture of me in 2019 🙂

this is the international city of photography, to visit chechaoue, Run in all directions and in all the alleys. at different times of the day. an early morning walk is highly recommended, when none of the souvenir stands are open. The alleyways will seem completely new to you. Before about half past nine, you will hardly meet any people on the street. Enjoy the details. You will discover many small fountains and here and there small loving decorations. But when the first souvenir sellers slowly open their shops around 10 or 11 o’clock, it’s also one of the best lighting moods, so take pictures diligently. Practically everything here is a perfect postcard motif. Especially when the warm morning sun illuminates everything beautifully and your photos have that special something.

If only time would stop, here every moment is worldwide

visit chefchaouen morocco

But as you walk through the narrow streets, you will see much more than just blue houses. For example, dozens of mosques of different architectural styles. One of the mosques has an octagonal minaret and is hidden in the narrow streets. Another one is located directly on the large central square and is decorated with green mosaic and a fountain in front of the entrance.

visit chefchaouen morocco

Street food in Chefchaouen

In the evenings, there are small food stalls in the street in front of the city gate that offer local delicacies such as snails. Often there are small crowds of people around the stands, in the central square (Outa el Hammam), it really feels like Spain. Many cafes and restaurants invite you to stay.

chefchaouen the international city of photography

Here you will have a holiday feeling and in the summer you can easily get over the heat of midday. Have a cup of tea and watch the colourful bustle in the square, many tourists with cameras photograph the scenery. In the evening you can dine here as well. Although all restaurants offer more or less the same thing, the prices are also similar and all restaurants are rather for tourists, the price-quality ratio is very good. There are also some specialities that you will not always find on a menu, for example the lamb tagine with prunes, nuts and honey.

chefchaouen the international city of photography

The Blue Pearl of the Rif

In Chefchaouen, each street is an ideal setting. Prepare your camera, let yourself be impregnated with this light, bright whites, tender blues. Just wait for the bodies that will pass in front of the lens and give life to the scene, there will be surrement on photos for instagram. And sometimes, we crack quickly. The naked set is enough by itself. There is no need to shout, you have to wait for the point. As in fishing, all the pleasure lies in waiting, in the promise of the prey. And in the meantime, enjoy the place.

the international photography festival:

chefchaouen the international city of photography
And yes, we can repeat it proudly, Chefchaouen is the iternational city of photography, this year 2018, a 14 year old American girl wins the photography trophy. Barely 14 years old, Isabelle Smith has just won the prestigious title of the youngest travel photographer of the year 2018 thanks to a very colorful portfolio exclusively composed of photos taken by the young girl in Chefchaouen, a photogenic city par excellence. Among her shots, one stood out in particular, that of a young boy playing with tangerines, whose colour contrasts beautifully with the indigo blue of this northern city.

A lover of the local town did an impressive feat: 

chefchaouen the international city of photography
one cannot speak of photographers in Chefchaouen without evoking the name of Mohamed HakounMohamed Hakoun, the painter in love with Chefchaouen. Passionate about photography, drawing and painting since the age of 13, he paints with all his soul on his canvases with shimmering colors the authenticity of the landscapes and faces of the Eden of the Moroccan Rif. Canvases and more than 8000 photographs of the blue city of Chefchaouen are immortalized on the walls of his house-museum, a magical place full of history open to the public. There are more than 17,000 photos and some 2,000 documents and press clippings that he owns about the town. His house is open free of charge to any visitor between 11am and 1pm and then from 5pm to 8pm. In addition to the 8000 paintings, the painter, Mohamed Hakoun, has managed to immortalize more than 17 000 photographs of Chefchaouen and some 2000 documents and press cuttings on the walls of his house. The painter, Mohamed Hakoun, cannot go unnoticed in the neighbourhoods of Chefchaouen. He is one of the few people whose name is very attached to this town.

 

Chefchaouen were used as the set for the filming of the new Louis Vuitton collection.

chefchaouen the international city of photography

To stage Louis Vuitton’s new collection in Chefchaouen and Tangier is the challenge taken up by Virgil Abloh, the Men’s Artistic Director of the French label. The Spring-Summer 2020 collection of the famous Parisian fashion house was shot under the lens of Viviane Sassen.

chefchaouen the international city of photography

La campagne publicitaire, intitulée « Empreintes » porte sur le thème de « L’impact positif de l’homme sur la planète ». De même tous les mannequins qui ont posé pour la marque ont été repérés au Maroc.

chefchaouen is surrounded by myths

Its blue is known beyond the country’s borders as far as Europe, Asia and America and attracts more and more tourists to the Rif Mountains. On the Instagram photographic network, where only the most beautiful photos bring many Loved Ones, the alleys of Chefchaouen are a sought-after motif.

Blue protects against the evil eye, so it is a religious symbol, many say. It came 500 years ago from Andalusia, in the north of Morocco, with the Muslims and Jews who were expelled there. Another theory: blue is supposed to create a proximity with the sky, a proximity with God. Or a more pragmatic version: it cools the city during the hot, moaning summers and protects against mosquitoes.

 

A jewel in the world

Testimony of a famous Spanish travel guide: “Colour refers to the sky and the sea,” says Ben Maymoun. This 50-year-old man has been running the small El Kadi Ben Maymoun bookshop for 30 years. Between turns of old books and magazines, he says: “Blue is the colour of God”. Maymoun shows old photos. It is only later that he says with excitement: “The city wants his house painted blue. for the tourists”. He painted his own house. It took him a week.

Morocco now attracts more than twelve million visitors a year – and the trend is rising. In the seventies, a few hippies came to the mountains to smoke hashish, in the eighties hundreds of thousands of bathing tourists from Europe were already lying on Agadir’s beaches. In the 1990s, tourism in the country stagnated. After an attack on a hotel in Marrakech in August 1994, the government blamed Algerian extremists. The eastern neighbour closed the border. Due to the unrest, holidaymakers avoided the region.

 

laundering tourists

Men help the people where they can. By renovating the houses, whitewashing, but above all by keeping the old town clean. In Berber Islam, it is said that the outer walls reveal who lives behind them.

In the past, women used to paint houses…

A few years later, at the turn of the millennium, almost all the houses are freshly painted, almost all in different shades of blue. At the same time, tourism in the region begins to develop again. Mouden says, also because in Morocco a new king, Mohammed VI, has risen to the throne. He had visited Chefchaouen, journalists and cameramen had accompanied him and reported on the city.

Chefchaouen and the hemp plantation

there are visits to the hemp plantation, which is not far from Chefchaouen. You can ask us to guide you. The tour costs 150 dirhams, about 13.21€.

Buy soap in Chefchaouen

chefchaouen the international city of photography

you can visit chefchaouen, and go shopping, Chefchaouen is also the blue village of soap, like the one made from argan oil, or marejuana, a pure quality product often sold at 20 MAD ( 2$), and mostly handmade, the soap shops of all colors will make you feel an incredible world, thousands of smells, If you do not want to enter the old city after visiting the medina of Marrakech, you can make an exception with Chefchaouen. The people here are very relaxed and friendly.
In these magical shops you can take a picture, you don’t regret the rendering.

Hamam in Chefchaouen

chefchaouen the international city of photography

In the middle of the small town centre there are some absolutely beautiful hamams, usually the hamam is mainly used by the inhabitants. In the morning it is the men’s turn, in the afternoon until the evening it is the women’s turn. For tourists, prices start from 20 dirhams, about 1,76 €. If you bought the soap, still a world to discover, the locals are used to see foreigners sharing the hamams.

Alkassba in Chefchaouen
Alkassba in Chefchaouen Morocco The castle in the centre of Chefchaouen was quickly spotted. Contrary to all blue houses, the Alcazaba is recognizable by its brownish colour. It is closed at noon from 13 to 15 hours. The entrance costs 10 dirhams, about 0.90€.

Chefchaouen seen from above

chefchaouen the international city of photography

Who wants to see Chefchaouen from above or outside, can walk to the small church, which is a 15 minute walk from Chefchaouen. You just have to walk to the big square with the alkassba, from there further up, over the small bridge and then the short path to the small church.
The second option is a walk to the Atlas Hotel, along the city walls.

Second-hand purchases

For second-hand buyers – Monday and Thursday are market days. For bargain hunters it is an absolute must. Just ask at the hostel or hotel if and where exactly the market takes place.

conclusion

Morocco is not in the top 10 photographic travel destinations in the world for nothing. A trip to Morocco is also always a journey back in time to a colourful, somewhat chaotic culture, which at the same time has many European influences and above all a culture that welcomes, accommodates and protects its visitors. In any case, all the visitors end up recognizing that one visit is not enough, one of the visitors commented: “I will come back, I will make new friends and I will bring home beautiful pictures”, other Chinese people preferred to stay there especially as the integration is done wonderfully.

And because it’s so beautiful, here are a few more pictures:

chefchaouen the international city of photography chefchaouen the international city of photography chefchaouen the international city of photography chefchaouen the international city of photography chefchaouen the international city of photography chefchaouen the international city of photography
more pictures ? enjoy

While you’re still here, you probably have a photographer friend, don’t hesitate to give him a gift, share this article with him.