Chouara Tannery

دار شوارة للدبغ

( Chouara Tannery )

Chouara Tannery (sometimes spelled Chouwara) is one of the three tanneries in the city of Fez, Morocco. It is the largest tannery in the city and one of the oldest. It is located in the Fes el Bali, the oldest medina quarter of the city, near the Saffarin Madrasa along the Oued Fes (also known as the Oued Bou Khrareb). 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.

Local tradition generally holds that the Chouara Tannery, as well as the Sidi Moussa Tannery southwest of the Zawiya of Moulay Idris, date from the city's foundation by Idris II (beginning of the 9th century).[1][2]: 296  Historical texts make reference to the Sidi Moussa Tannery more definitely in the early 12th century, but the age of the Chouara Tannery is more unclear and the earlier history of either tannery is not firmly established. Modern historians have said that there isn't clear evidence for where the city's earliest tanneries were located but that tanneries did likely exist soon after the city's foundation and would likely have been located near the main river or near other natural water sources just as they are today.[1]

Historical sources show that the tanneries were a major industry even in the city's early history and tied to a large part of its economy. The products of the city's tanneries were also prestigious enough that they were reportedly exported all the way to Baghdad.[1] Al-Jazna'i claims that the Almohads (late 12th to early 13th century) counted a total of 86 tanning workshops in the city, while a later source claims that there were around a hundred in the Marinid period (late 13th to 15th centuries).[1] The tanneries, including the Chouara Tannery, continued to be expanded or modified on several occasions even into modern times. In addition to the Chouara and Sidi Moussa Tanneries, the Ain Azliten Tannery, located in the north of the city, was also created at the end of the 18th century.[1]

^ a b c d e Le Tourneau, Roger; Paye, L. (1935). "La corporation des tanneurs et l'industrie de la tannerie à Fès". Hespéris. 21: 167–240. ^ Le Tourneau, Roger (1949). Fès avant le protectorat: étude économique et sociale d'une ville de l'occident musulman. Casablanca: Société Marocaine de Librairie et d'Édition.
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