A trip to Chefchaouen medina is a must, as it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the 16 finalists for the New 7 Wonders of Nature.
When you think of Morocco, the first thing that usually comes to mind is a picturesque walled city located in the Rif region. This urban labyrinth is populated with intricate, car-free streets and plazas; historic Moroccan-era architecture; and numerous artisanal shops selling carpets and ceramics. And while this is all true, there is one more aspect of this Medina you probably haven’t heard about, especially if you are not old enough to remember the days before independence in 1956.
The early days of this walled city, which was formerly known as Chaouen, saw the Jews of Morocco settling here after they were expelled from Spain in 1492. The Jewish presence in Chefchaouen is so strong that it is still considered the most important Jewish community in the country.
It is not surprising then to learn that before World War II, this town had one of the highest concentrations of Jews outside Israel. Unfortunately, the majority immigrated to Israel during the 1950s and 60s due to anti-Semitism. Today, only one synagogue remains in the city, which is co-founded by both Christians and Jews. It is since 1926, when the synagogue was built.
For the past few years, Chefchaouen has been attracting tourists due to its authentic Moroccan charm. This renewed interest in Chaouen has helped to draw attention to the work of artisans who produce traditional Moroccan goods in old European factories that were abandoned by their owners during this time period.