Leather in Fez is Silk in Shanghai: Dar al-Dabbagh Spot
The ancient city of Fes is famous for maintaining the craft of leather tanning in a traditional way, practiced by the city’s craftsmen for centuries. In the middle of this city, there is an agency that gives special interest to the traditional and ancient places: Morocco Fez Tours, and it will take you this time to the most tourist-friendly spot in Fes that attracts visitors from inside and outside Morocco: Dar al-Dabbagh.
Sheep and goat skins are transported to one of the remaining “tanning houses” in the most tourist-friendly neighborhoods, to begin its preparation journey before moving to traditional shoe-makers’ workshops, leather clothing, belts, boards, and office tools.
Among the famous tanning houses that continue to resist the fin of modernity in the manufacture of clothing and leather accessories, there is Dar al-Dabbagh “Al-Shwara” located in the ancient city of the scientific capital, Fez.
Another challenge facing tanning houses in the city of Fez is the lack of manpower, in light of the alienation of the youth and their refusal to work in this craft, due to the great effort involved and the weak financial return.
Craftsmen are demanding that tourists be allowed to enter Dar al-Dabbagh directly to benefit directly from it, as does the owner of the bazaar who sells them leather products at exorbitant prices that the craftsman does not earn even if he works today all day. Today’s hours will only suffice to prepare about 4 pieces of leather to earn a value of only seven dollars.
By returning to the tanning craft, the process begins by selecting the leather and placing it in the “boiler” for a period of 10 days to 15 days to saturate the colors of the dye, after this leather has been purified and washed well-using materials such as lime, then they can be thrown inside a large port to be tanned, a process that is done by trampling with feet and requires strength and longevity due to the prolonged movement it requires in order to saturate the skin with colored materials.
The colors in which leather is sought are extracted mainly from pomegranate peels, saffron, and other natural materials, after which they are dried, by leaving them in high, sunny areas.
The role of tanning in Fez contributes to the revitalization of tourism, where tourists come from all parts of the world to visit the bazaars overlooking the tannery and take pictures there, as they go down to the pools where tanned leather to take pictures with workers.