The Wash House

The Wash House

In Chefchaouen, the wash house is a central part of the village life. 

The wash house of Chefchaouen was built on the outskirts of town, over a river flowing from the Rif mountains. It is the busiest place in the city where all generations gather not only to wash clothes and carpets but also to discuss current affairs, drink tea or coffee, play in a natural pool, learn the basics of life by helping out parents or simply pass the time. 

The washing of the carpets is a spectacle for the whole town that makes good use of Morocco's great passion: football. Women lie the carpets on a flat surface covered with a few centimeters of fresh water then apply Aleppo soap on top. The soap is 100% natural, made of olive and laurel oils. The children are then encouraged to play on top of the soaked carpets to extract all the dust by stepping on them repeatedly. They are then placed on the roof of the wash house to dry.

The binding power of football continues in the evening. In a cul-de-sac of the old medina, a large white sheet is hung and a projector shows a live match. Old and young, men and women sit on the plastic chairs of this makeshift cinema to cheer the players, drink tea and have a bite, be together and enjoy the cool evening breeze.