Fes, one of the oldest imperial cities of Morocco, is home to many traditional crafts and trades, including the ancient art of leather tanning. The Tanners District in Fes is a maze of narrow streets and alleys, lined with traditional houses and workshops where leather tanners have been practicing their craft for centuries.
The tanning process in Fes is a complex and fascinating one, involving natural materials such as cow urine, pigeon droppings, and vegetable dyes. The process is carried out in large pits or basins, where the hides are soaked, washed, and treated with various substances to soften and color them. The tanners use their bare feet to knead and turn the hides, a process that requires great skill and endurance.
Visitors to the Tanners District can witness the tanning process up close, and even try their hand at some of the techniques.Despite the use of a mint branch, the strong odors emanating from the surroundings cannot be completely eliminated. However, the reward for enduring these scents is a stunning panorama of vibrant colors, bustling souks, exquisite Medersas, mosques, and a bustling community of artisans who cease their work only for Friday prayers.
Exploring the Tanners District is a unique experience that offers a glimpse into the ancient and intricate world of leather tanning in Fes. It is a reminder of the rich cultural heritage of the city and its people, and a testament to the enduring legacy of traditional craftsmanship in a modern world.