Chaouen is supposed to based on the small white town Vejer de la Frontera in Cadiz, Andalucia, Spain where many of the inhabitants ancestors of Chaouen were banished when they were expelled from Spain.
I always said that Vejer was the white town that reminded me most of Morocco and now I know why!
These days Vejer and Chaouen are sister towns. One white and one blue but with lots of family traits.
There is a photo of Vejer included below along side the one of chaouen, or more can be found on my Cadiz province page.
Due to the fact that until the 1920's the people here spoke a strand of medieval Spanish some words are still strangely Hispanic. I can't remember exactly but words such as jersey or camiseta have their Moroccan equivalent which was explained to me by a local. May be this explains why when I was dozing off on the bus on the way here I thought I understood some of the Moroccan's conversation sitting in front of me. I thought I was going crazy, but maybe I wasn't.
A high percentage of people here speak Spanish instead of the typical French (as Morocco has been under French control in the past). Maybe due to its historical links to Spain but also likely to be because of the amount of Spanish tourists that slip across the water to come here. Though it seems a lot of people fly down from Pais Vasco too.
If you speak Spanish, English or French it is better to try out your Spanish in shops as it isn't considered such a rich country like France, Britain or America so you may just get yourself a cheaper price. This is a very good note for Spanish travellers!
In Spain they still use a pretty antiquated system of gas, where little orange bottles of gas are delivered to your door on a small van. When the bottle runs out, you order a new one. Well to my delight, here it is exactly the same system, only that the bottles are a little smaller, vary in colour and are delivered on a DONKEY!!!
It really was like seeing Spain in the past. I'm sure the same system was used there not so long ago. To me much of Morocco reminded me of an old Spain; how Spain once was. Well maybe not all of Spain but certainly the white towns of Andalucia.