Let’s Paint the Town Blue
I can’t imagine living in a city where every paintable surface is the same color, even this lovely blue. But that’s how they roll in Chefchaoen, Morocco; the city’s buildings, walls, stairs, railings, flowerpots, doors–everything, all blue. Founded in 1471, the entire city was painted with tekhelel, a natural dye made of shellfish.
In the bible, Israelites are commanded to use this dye to color one of the threads of their prayer shawl.
Though tekhelel is no longer available and the city’s population of Jews has diminished, the tradition has carried on through the centuries. Blue pigment is sold in pots and bags throughout the city, and residents faithfully refresh the paint on their homes, flower pots, balcony railings, doors and practically everywhere else in the community. Even the interiors of many of these buildings are painted blue.
The pigments may vary in color now, ranging from periwinkle to aqua, but the effect is no less spectacular, providing a monochromatic stage from which every other color dazzles, particularly the merchandise hung on walls outside of markets and shops.
It’s pretty and I understand the symbolism, but I think I’d go with a clean white wall inside–or anything but blue, actually.