Visitors have been flocking to the Spanish village of Júzcar since 2011, as its houses are painted blue and it's known as the home of The Smurfs. Sadly, the colourful village will no longer be able to lay claim to that fictional colony of small, blue anthropomorphous creatures who live in mushroom-shaped houses, because an order has been issued that all Smurf-related activities must cease from today.
Júzcar is a little village in Andalusia with a population of around 250 people, and it was formerly filled with whitewashed homes. In 2011, Sony Pictures won agreement from the villagers to paint every building blue in 2011 to promote the Spanish premiere of The Smurfs 3D movie, Los Pitufos. They chose the village as it's famous for its fungi, and Smurfs, of course, love mushrooms. Painters came in and coated the entire town with 4200 litres of blue paint, in what was meant to be a temporary publicity stunt.
However, after the positive reaction the colourful transformation garnered, residents voted to keep their homes blue permanently and capitalised by promoting Júzcar as the world’s only ‘Smurf village.’ Tourists descended on the location where Smurfs are painted on walls and locals even dress up as Smurf characters to pose for photos. They also sold souvenirs, and The Local reports that after a dispute with heirs of the Smurf creator, Belgian comics artist Pierre Culliford, villagers consented to pay 12% in royalties on all Smurf-related income.
However, the council website bore a notice last week from the mayor’s office, saying that from today, Júzcar has now “lost the authorisation to market itself as a Smurf town.” So although we're none the wiser as to why, sadly there'll be no more little blue cartoon creatures brightening up the streets. Happily, the village will remain blue, so it will still be worth a visit and will look great on your Instagram feed.