It has a very homy feel with no hassel what so ever. The narrow streets, The white and blue, the beuatiful doors, and the all the donkeys you'll get to see, will have a very relaxing effect. All of this will slow your pace for you. No wounder few people from spain baugt homes in the old medina and driven prices so high.
The Madina has few gates like Bab Al Aun, Bab Assouq, Bab Al Ansar and you'll have to walk to the nothern side to see the city walls.
Ras Al Maa
Ras Al Maa is a spring located in the north Eastern part of town, just out side the city gate. It is a pleasent 5 minutd walk from Outa Al Hammam. You'll get to see the city and all the little streets. There is a nice cafe/resturant on terrace viewing the entire valley below. This is also a starting point if you want to hike up to the spanish mosque that is clearly visible from this point.
The Grand Mosque
The Grand mosque was also built in 1471 by Moulay Ali Ben Rashid along with the city. The mosque was under renovation when I visited the city in August 2007 but the work seemed to be near its end.
The view of the mosque from the kasbah tower is very nice as you can see from the pictrure. The mosque has a beuatiful menarite. I am not st sure if it is an octagonal or hexagonal. I particularly like the red roof top design
The city of Chefchaouen and its Kasbah were established in 1471 as a result of the Portugese occupation of Ceuta (Sebta ) in 1415. Moulay Ali Ben Rashed who founded the city to fight the Portuges. Along the city has also established a semi-independant state in Northern Morocco that initially did not recognize the central goverment in Fez. The city recieved waves of Adaulsian Immegrants after the fall of Granada, which helped the city to develop and flourish.
This Kasbah and the city was for a period of time the headquarter for another Moroccan National figur. His name was Abdul Kareen Al khattabi. He is the foundeer Al Reef Republic and fought against the Spanish occupation of Northern Morocco until the 1920.
Beisde the the garden and the Museum, The Kasbah has 3 towers, a presion and various other buildings. you can visit the prison and climb up one of the towers.
As you enter the Kasbah, this Ethnographic Museum building is located to you left . It has a photo exhibit about chefchaouen in the past. This museum alsso has itmes used in daily life few centries ago. Things like clothes, Jewellary, Music instruments, Wepons and ceramics.
I found it intersting to see things like wedding clothes. When I was in the city I witnessed a wedding where the Bride was lifted in a fancy box (I don't know what to call it in English) and she was carried around the city. I witnesed that in Asilah too, I was told that this happens only in norhtern Morocco. In both cases I did not have my camera with me.
In the second floor there was a libray for Andaulsian Studies. iw as told that this is closed during the month of August. It is interesting the inside of the Kasbah.
The Kasbah Garden
This Garden is loated in the Courtyard of the Kasbah. At certain point there was a cafe in this garden but that is no longer the case, I don't know why but it would have been a nice spot for a cafe. In addition to the trees and flowers, it has a well. The entrance fee to the kasbah, the Garden and the Museum will cost you 10 dh. It is open from 9-1 6-3 daily except for Tuesday.
Part of the Court yard and the kasbah has been convereted into a theater. This has a seprate entrance near Place Al Makhazen. During my first visit to Chauen there was a music festival and the theater hosted part of the action.
Blue on Blue on Blue
Chaouen is a quiet relaxed mountain VILLAGE, therefore there isn't really much to do here but walk around the streets and marvel at the blue alley ways and houses. It is very southern Spanish looking (Andalucia) with its tiles and things inherited from expelled Muslims from Spain. Though I think the blue washing gives it a far more stunning appearance than the typical Spanish white washing.
VERY fresh Food market.
If you are fed up of fast food back home, why not try some VERY fresh food; so fresh it is still alive. On the Monday/Thursday market the streets are lined with people selling vegetables and live chickens.
Here there isn't much in the line of refrigeration so meat goes off quickly in the hot sun. One good solution if you live here, to making sure you eat good meat is to buy it live and kill it, prepare it and cook it yourself.
You can also see live goats being lead around the streets. Brought by the Berbers from the mountains and probably sold for milk.
The Berbers are easy to spot due to their special attire which always seems to be really thick, even in summer and brightly coloured. I shouldn't forget to mention their interesting hats which are also sold around town as souvenirs.
- Arts and Culture
The laundry mat
On the east edge of town just outside the medina you can see the local 'laundry mat' where WOMAN wash their clothes like in times of old before the wonderful invention of washing machines.
It is a great reminder that we are very lucky to have such modern appliances which make our lives so much easier, and that many aren't as lucky as us. If we don't have one at home we can always take it to a place that does have machines. Here it means a lot of scrubbing and then carrying the wet heavy clothes up hill home.
On the plus side it is probably a highly social event.
There seemed to be a spring there too where women and young boys collected water in large bottles.
The pinky-orange walls of the restored Kasbah, directly at the centre of activity in the Medina's Plaza Uta el-Hammam are pretty difficult to miss. In fact its walls act as a border to almost the whole of one side of the square.
Inside the Kasbah you'll find a rather large, pretty courtyard, with bushes flowering in purples and yellows. This makes a really nice place to sit for a while, or to just walk around a little if you feel like being outside but just want some peace and quiet away from the hustle and bustle.
Also inside the walls of the Kasbah you'll find some prison cells, complete with chains still hanging from the walls - you may have to resist the photo opportunity. There are some great views over the square and beyond from the Kasbah's tower, as well as a small gallery in one corner of the courtyard containing modern works of art by local artists. This stuff is of varying quality, but is worth checking out as there are a couple of excellent pieces in more abstract styles.
In addition, a small ethnographic museum and the Centre for Andalucian Studies is also contained within the Kasbah's grounds.
A rather smelly toilet is located left of the museum in the grounds (bearing no relation to where they are on the map of the grounds which caused me some distress as I desparately searched around at bursting point...) - btw, bring your own loo paper. Signs also suggest that there is a cafe in the grounds but I'm guessing this is only in the summer months.
The Kasbah is open daily except Tuesday until 6pm, though closed between 1pm and 3pm and is worth the 10dh entry.
- Castles and Palaces
- Budget Travel
The local ethnographic museum is contained in a building in the grounds of the Kasbah, on Plaza Uta el-Hammam, the Medina's main square and centre of activity.
While there isn't a whole lot to keep you occupied in this museum for longer than maybe 15 minutes, the place itself is pretty enough to walk around with a quaint little interior courtyard perfect for a bit of a photo opportunity. As tiny local museums go, this one has character and stayed in my mind.
A few wooden artefacts such as a sideboard and a couple of reconstructed scenes such as a weavers room are dotted about, while one room consists of slightly dated and faded photos reconstructing wedding photos in traditional dress. These struck me as being quite odd in a sense - the photos are meant to display traditional dress, but are posed uncomfortably by teenagers looking rather miserable, as if they've been roped into doing this against there better wishes. You spend more time looking at how uncomfortable the models are than the clothes. Plus, unless you're really into folk dress, they aren't otherwise that educational.
My favourite things here were on the top floor, just a few old grainy black and whites of the main square and the walls of the Kasbah back in the days of Spanish occupation showing just how much restoration has gone into the Kasbah and Plaza Uta el-Hammam, leading to the clearance of old ramshackle huts that used to line the Kasbah walls. Gives you an idea of how things used to be in Chefchaouen and just how much the place has probably been cleaned up over the years.
I purposely didn't take any photos of the actual exhibition spaces as for just 10dh entry to the Kasbah, it's worth supporting this small cultural endeavour up in the Rif Mountains.
The building is also home to an Andalucian Studies Centre, although this appeared closed when I was there and I'm not quite sure what its usual purpose is anyway.
- Budget Travel
- Museum Visits
The Tower and the View
The tower is located to your right hand side. climb up and start taking pictures only when you can't go up no more. The view of the city, the mosque and the vallry is the best from this tower.
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