Chouwara Tannery, Fez el Bali Medina, Morocco
Chouwara Tannery, Fez Medina, Morocco, 2016-12-03.
Fez is famous for it’s leather artisanal crafts and the Chouwara tannery (or Chouara Tannery) is one of the most impressive sights in the Medina. Once the centre of leather production (over taking Cordoba in Spain during the 16th Century) the tannery still operates today as it did many centuries ago and dates back as far as the 11th Century. Cow, sheep, goat and camel hides are preserved and dyed at the tanneries and used to make clothing and artisanal products, which are sold throughout the medina.
The entire old, walled medina of Fez el Bali is a UNESCO World Heritage protected site and is considered to be the best preserved example of a medieval medina in the Arab world. It’s labyrinth of streets are notoriously difficult to navigate and most of it’s layout, madrasas, fondouks, palaces, mosques and fountains date back to the 13th and 14th centuries, when Fez was the capital city of Morocco. It also is thought to be the largest pedestrianised space in the world. The heart of the medina is full of amazing Arab and Al-Andalus architecture and design, with a high concentration of stunning mosaic zelij displays.