Chouara Tannery is one of the three tanneries in the city of Fez, Morocco. Built in the 11th century, it is the largest tannery in the city. It is located in the Fes el Bali, the oldest medina quarter of the city, near the Saffarin Madrasa along the river. Since the inception of the city, the tanning industry has been continually operating in the same fashion as it did in the early centuries. Today, the tanning industry in the city is considered one of the main tourist attractions. The tanneries are packed with the round stone vessels filled with dye or white liquids for softening the hides. The leather goods produced in the tanneries are exported around the world.
The most notable feature of Chouara and the other local tanneries is the numerous stone vessels filled with different colored dyes and white liquids. Hides of cows, sheep, goats, and camels are processed by first soaking in a series of the white liquids – made from various mixtures of cow urine, pigeon feces, quicklime, salt, and water – in order to clean and soften the tough skins. This process takes two to three days and prepares the hides to readily absorb the dyes. They are then soaked in the dyeing solutions, which use natural colorants such as poppy for red, indigo for blue, and henna for orange. After the dyeing, they are dried under the sun. The resulting leather is then sold to other craftsmen, who use it to produce Morocco's famed leather goods, such as bags, coats, shoes, and slippers, prized for their high quality. The entire leather production process comprises manual labor only and involves no modern machinery, and has retained methods unchanged since medieval times.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tanneries of Fez.|
- Chouara Tannery. Archnet. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
- Why You Need to Visit Fez in 20 Photos. Bloomberg. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
- Aziza Chaouni: Hybrid Urban Sutures: Filling in the Gaps in the Medina of Fez." Archit 96 no. 1 (2007): 58-63.
- The Leather Tanneries of Fez, Morocco. Amusing Planet. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
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