An ancient city in Morocco has been painted shades of blue for 500 years

Chefchaouen Morocco blue city
500 years of blue. Zzvet/iStock

Chefchaouen is a city in Morocco that’s famous for its blue hue. While it was founded in 1471, it didn’t get its distinctive colour until 1492, when it received an influx of Jews escaping the Spanish inquisition, who brought a tradition of painting buildings blue.

Half a millennium later, the tradition persists in Chefchaouen’s Old City, which is now a popular tourism and shopping destination.

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title=”The city’s grown since the 1400s, but it’s Chefchaouen’s Old City that maintains the blue tradition.”
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title=”The city itself is near the northern tip of Morocco.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/57b2124cdd089546258b45af/image.jpg”
source=”Google Maps”
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credit_href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/erik_gomez/15643483608/in/photolist-pQmWEC-pgYv4S-paYeFm-sviRzA-aEyA2Q-4q5wWN-9eEiqj-9eXKAc-9eXJfr-8qR7sE-8qQYJj-xUCb4K-r5pb1H-qMZwTY-qMXoi3-BABSri-Bykgts-qMZFo1-qMYmpb-r5z2w2-qMJbpv-q8LDR2-r5apKt-r5nZU2-ppjKWv-r5xwNT-qN752X-r5pxnR-r5qtKi-BwFh4r-q5E4JC-r2RUML-r55rxo-qN7iE6-BDYjiz-o4caQG-qMXLxJ-nNL1BX-ppzts9-r5oehK-qN9vpK-qN7ihz-APovsH-BJtY81-BDtzYM-BykcGu-BgLSCq-BHV6TB-r2Sfao-r5yXbD”
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[slide
permalink=”/#the-tradition-of-painting-everything-blue-dates-back-to-the-jewish-community-that-settled-there-in-the-15th-century-3″
title=”The tradition of painting everything blue dates back to the Jewish community that settled there in the 15th century.”
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permalink=”/#spain-expelled-its-jews-in-1492-and-many-of-them-fled-to-the-middle-east-a-contingent-settled-in-morocco-4″
title=”Spain expelled its Jews in 1492, and many of them fled to the Middle East. A contingent settled in Morocco.”
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permalink=”/#the-sephardi-jewish-community-that-settled-in-chefchaouen-brought-along-their-tradition-of-painting-buildings-blue-5″
title=”The Sephardi Jewish community that settled in Chefchaouen brought along their tradition of painting buildings blue.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/57b2124cdd089546258b45b2/image.jpg”
source=”Zzvet/iStock”
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[slide
permalink=”/#the-color-mirrors-the-sky-and-reminds-them-of-god-6″
title=”The colour mirrors the sky and reminds them of God.”
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source=”Juan García Aunión/iStock”
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[slide
permalink=”/#and-the-effect-is-beautiful-7″
title=”And the effect is beautiful.”
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source=”Juan García Aunión/iStock”
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[slide
permalink=”/#but-it-really-took-off-in-chefchaouen-9″
title=”But it really took off in Chefchaouen.”
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title=”Like many old cities, it’s walled. Chefchaouen was closed to outsiders until the 1920s, when Spain seized that region of Morocco.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/57b2124cdd089546258b45b7/image.jpg”
source=”Erik G. Trigos/flickr”
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[slide
permalink=”/#by-the-end-of-the-century-it-became-a-popular-tourist-destination-12″
title=”By the end of the century, it became a popular tourist destination.”
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