Blue jewel of Morocco

The north-western Moroccan city of Chefchaouen, in the Rif Mountains, ranks sixth in the latest list of the world's 50 most beautiful cities from Conde Nast Traveler magazine. It is ranked ahead of Paris, which remains in seventh place, followed by Cape Town.

The world's most beautiful city is Venice, according to the luxury and lifestyle travel magazine, followed by Hong Kong, Istanbul, New York and London. Singapore is ranked 15th on the list.

Chefchaouen is known as the "blue city" for its painted streets and buildings.

Jewish refugees from Europe who lived there during the 1930s painted the city blue - either to symbolise heaven or as a mosquito repellent, depending on whom you ask - and residents keep the tradition alive by applying new coats of paint each year.

Founded in 1471 as a fortress by Moulay Ali Ben Moussa Ben Rached El Alami to protect northern Morocco from Portuguese invasions, the charming city of about 40,000 inhabitants is a popular tourist destination because of its proximity to Tangier, a Moroccan port city, and the Spanish enclave of Ceuta.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 04, 2016, with the headline 'Blue jewel of Morocco'. Print Edition | Subscribe