From multi-coloured lamp-lit streets of Hoi An to a beautiful blue city in Morocco, here’s our countdown of the top five most colourful places in the world.
Every street and building in Chefchaouen in Morocco is coloured in some shade of blue, as in Islamic culture, blue symbolises wealth and happiness. The city was closed off to foreigners for 500 years, but now it welcomes travellers into its blue paradise with open arms. Blue is indeed the warmest colour here as it reflects the importance of the nearby Ras el-Maa Waterfall from where citizens get their drinking water.
Hoi An, Vietnam
While Hoi An is romantic with its 18th century wooden buildings, street food and narrow alleys, the true highlight is the beautiful coloured lanterns that line every street. Perfectly blending elements of Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese cultures, the lanterns and lamps of every size, shape and colour hang over the streets, illuminating the special rustic charm that characterise Hoi An.
No list of colourful places can be complete without featuring Jaipur, the Pink City of India. All forts and historical buildings in this ancient city are painted with a terracotta pink colour, which is especially produced from calcium oxide and is extremely durable in the arid desert conditions of Jaipur. What was originally a welcoming gesture by Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh II to please British monarch Prince Albert in 1876 still continues to draw throngs of guests every year to this desert city.
Painted Desert, Arizona, the US
It’s difficult to imagine deserts as colourful places, but the Painted Desert in Arizona is a multi-coloured exception to the rule. Deriving its name for the multitude of colours like lavender, orange and pink, it is a vast expanse of hillocks and buttes that stretch for over 160 miles. This massive sandstone formation is also brushed in places with brick red and golden yellow, which changes colours during different times of the year.
Bo Kaap, Cape Town, South Africa
Bo Kaap in Cape Town, South Africa, is one of the trendiest neighbourhoods with lots of restaurants and bars. What stands out, however, is its rows of coloured houses. The houses are a mix of Cape Dutch and Georgian architecture, standing in distinctive multi-coloured rows on cobbled roads. Of all the other colourful places on this list, Bo Kaap’s history is perhaps the most inspiring. All the houses in this neighbourhood were originally white, but when slaves were allowed to buy their own houses, they coloured them in the brightest of hues to mark their freedom of expression.
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Text: Suchetana Mukhopadhyay