Chefchaouen inspires the inhabitants of Mosul, the former epicenter of ISIS

In an initiative launched by an Iraqi student, the streets of Mosul have been painted blue just like the city of Chefchaouen. Inspired by Morocco’s blue city, Mosul's old quarter was decorated in a way that attracts visitors.

Mosul in Iraq. / DR
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Chefchaouen, a city in the Rif Mountains of northwest Morocco, has inspired the inhabitants of Mosul, a city that was once controlled by the «Islamic State of Syria and Iraq» (ISIS). Thanks to the initiative of a young student, the streets of the Mosul ancient Medina have been turned into a tiny version of Chefchaouen.

Mohamed Abdelhak, a 24 year-old student at the University of Mosul, was behind the brilliant idea, which managed to bring a new spirit to the city that was destroyed by the terrorist organization. Speaking to, Abdelhak said he decided to paint the streets’ walls in blue in an attempt to «mimic the Moroccan city of Chefchaouen».

Through his limited resources, the young Iraqi student has been preparing for this initiative for one year. In February, and during two weeks only, he managed to transform the old quarter into Iraq’s own «blue city».

Iraq's own «blue city»

He painted the walls and decorated most of them with verses from old local songs. Helped by other young volunteers, Abdelhak decorated the streets of the ancient city using plants and birdhouses to honor the Iraqi tradition of owning birds.

In addition to that, the Mosul-based student painted the quarter’s front doors, using fun and colorful patterns. The area, now dubbed the «blue street», has become an attraction for the inhabitants of Mosul.

While kids prefer to play in the colorful quarters, adults visit to take photos and selfies and share them on the internet.

Backed by a local and an international NGO to carry out his project, Abdelhak has managed to make of this old part of the city a positive venue.

On social media, photos of the «blue street» went viral, with internet users lauding the initiative. Others said that this is a new start for Mosul, which is determined to rise from its ashes after the war.

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