Chaouwara Tanneries

Chaouwara Tanneries information

Fez , Morocco
Derb Chaouwara, Blida
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The Chaouwara tanneries are one of the city’s most iconic sights (and smells). Head east or northeast from Pl as-Seffarine and take the left fork after about 50m; you’ll soon pick up the unmistakable waft of skin and dye that will guide you into the heart of the leather district (the touts offering to show you the way make it even harder to miss).

It’s not often possible to get in among the tanning pits themselves, but there are plenty of vantage points from the surrounding streets, all occupied (with typical Fassi ingenuity) by leather shops. Each shop has a terrace that allows you to look over the action. Try to get here in the morning when the pits are awash with coloured dye. Salesmen will happily give an explanation of the processes involved and will expect a small tip in return or, even better, a sale. While this might feel a little commercialised, you probably won’t find a better selection of leather in Morocco, and prices are as good as you’ll get.

In recent years, there have been plans mooted to move the tannery out of the medina altogether and redevelop the site as a green area. However, with both the economic and cultural impact of the plans for this district of the medina remaining uncertain, it’s unsure whether these ideas will ever leave the drawing board.