The Most Beautiful Riads in Morocco's Blue City

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Located in northwest Morocco, Chefchaouen, or Chaouen, is a city in the Rif Mountains with an incredible history and some of the most striking blue architecture in the world. During the 15th-century Spanish Inquisition, Jews fleeing from forced Christianity escaped across the narrow Strait of Gibraltar that separates Africa from Europe. A portion of these refugees made their way to Chefchaouen, high in the mountains and difficult to access. Once there, the Sephardi Jews painted buildings and homes in cool shades of blue, most likely because it's the color of the sky and divinity in Judaism. However, a less idealistic theory claims the color blue acts as a fly repellent. Outsiders and Christians weren't readily allowed in to the secret Blue City until the 1800s. Today, partially thanks to the notorious hashish trade and Morocco's draw for artists and vagabonds, Chefchaouen is open to everyone. It offers a calm and dreamy respite from the screeching cacophony in Morocco's other large cities. Aside from photographing all the beautiful blues, tourist highlights include a red-walled kasbah, weaving workshops on cobbled lanes, and a 15th-century fortress and dungeon. At night, bed down in one these charming blue riads (former private mansions turned into boutique hotels). Click through for some very cool, very blue inspiration. 

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