The original name is Chaouen, meaning "horns", referring to the surrounding mountains. Under Spanish occupation the spelling changed to Xaouen and in 1975 the town was renamed Chefchaouen. These days, the names are used interchangeably. Moulay Ali ben Rached founded Chaouen in 1471 as a base for Riffian Berber tribes to launch attacks on the Portuguese in Ceuta. The town prospered and grew considerably with the arrival of Muslim and Jewish refugees escaping persecution in Granada in 1494. It was these refugees ?who built the white washed houses, with tiny balconies, tiled roofs and patios. Chaouen has a Mediterranean climate. Hot and sunny May to October, warm and sunny with rain at times for rest of the year, temperatures are moderate all year and the climate is generally comfortable.