The white town of Chefchaouen nestles in the hollow of the two
mountains Ech-Chaoua (The Horns), from which it takes its name.
Steep narrow streets with white and indigo limewashed buildings,
small squares, ornate fountains and houses with elaborately
decorated doorways and red tile roofs make this a delightful town.
It was founded
in 1471 by Idrissid shorfa, descendants of the
prophet Mohammed, as a stronghold
in the fight against the
Portuguese. With its 8 mosques and several zaouias
Chefchaouen is considered a holy town.
Ras el Ma
Beyond the Bab el Ansar gateway, is the well of Ras el Ma (water
head), which is now enclosed by a building. Accounting for the
town’s lush gardens and powering the mills, the presence of the
underground spring was the main reason for the establishment
town at this location. With its cascades, wash-houses, mills and
Ras el Ma is considered to be one of Chefchaouen’s most
Uta el Hammam square and the Grand
The square is the heart of the old town and the focal point on which
all the streets of the medina converge. It is lined with trees,
paved with stones and pebbles, and in the centre stands a four-sided
fountain decorated with arches and crowned by a pavilion
tiles. With shops and cafés, this is an ideal place for a relaxed
stroll. The Grand Mosque at the square is distinctive for being
octagonal and for its decoration with zellij tilework tiers and
ochre background. Probably founded in the 16th century, it has been
remodelled several times since.
Kasbah and Ethnographic museum
Built between the 15th and 17th century in an Andalusian style with
ten bastions and walls of red beaten earth, the Kasbah
essential heart of the town. The Ethnographic museum, occupying the
residence built in the garden, contains displays
of pottery, armour,
embroidery, costume, musical instruments, palanquins and painted
Chefchaouen’s Fondouk still serves its original purpose; around 50
rooms, arranged around the courtyard, accommodate travellers and
passing traders. The building’s strikingly simple design is in
remarkable contrast to its the main entrance door, which is
surmounted by an awning and framed with interlacing horse shoe
The Souïka (little market) is the oldest district of Chefchaouen and
has the town’s finest houses with carved and decorated doors.
The narrow streets contain many small shops and more than 100
weavers’ workshops. Indeed the town is famous for the woollen
jellabas that are woven here, as well as the red and white striped
fabrics worn by the women of the Jebala, a tribe of the western Rif.
Winter temperature = 8 - 18°C. Summer = 20 – 35°C.
Dry and sunny climate. Big night/day temperature difference.