Leather Souq in Fès, Morocco

In February 2014, John and I went to Morocco for a long weekend.

Morocco

One of my favorite places to visit was the Leather Souq in Fès.


Morocco

This tannery in Fès is the oldest leather tannery in the world.

Morocco

Tanning leather involves a process which permanently alters the protein structure of the skin.

Morocco

Before dying the hides, they are first unhaired and then soaked in a mixture of acids, pigeon excrement, and cow urine.

Morocco

Morocco

That pungent mixture is what makes the leather hides soft and supple.

Morocco

That mixture is also why you DO NOT refuse the aromatic mint bouquet that’s given to you when entering the Leather Souq.

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Trust me.

After soaking, the hides are transferred to other stone vessels containing vegetable dyes such as henna, saffron, poppy flower, cedar wood, indigo, and mint.

Morocco

Morocco

Once the skins have been dyed, they are hung to dry or laid out to dry on rooftop terraces.

Morocco

Morocco

Morocco

Or anywhere there is an open spot.

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We saw a ton of them drying on the hill above Fès where you’ll find the Marinid Tombs.

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The Leather Souq was my favorite sight in Fès.

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I loved all the colors:

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And really enjoyed learning about the process of turning the hides of sheep and goats into leather bags, coats, shoes, and slippers.

Morocco

Morocco

If your travels take you to Fès, even for a day, I highly recommend the Leather Souq.

Morocco

Grab a guide and learn all about the tanning process in the oldest leather tannery in the world.

Morocco

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