Small Town Blues – Chefchaouen, Morocco


The blue walls are thought to keep the town cool in summer and repel insects.

Known as the Blue Pearl, Chefchaouen in Morocco is truly blue. All the buildings in its medina (old town) are painted blue, contrasting with the arid Rif Mountains surrounding the town. There is a religious meaning behind the blue hue.

First built as a 15th-century fortress, Chefchaouen turned blue in the 1930s, thanks to local Jewish people. In Judaism, blue represents God, heaven, and sky. Ancient Jewish teachings state that dyeing thread with tekhelel (a natural indigo dye) would keep God in mind, a tradition that lives on in today’s blue buildings.

Venetian Spectrum

Burano is a multicoloured island in Italy’s Venetian lagoon. The houses are painted in glorious shades, with no two houses the same. The tradition originates with fishermen who painted their homes so they could spot them easily while fishing on the lagoon.