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“Intimidating and awful” 1 of 5 stars
Review of Tanneries

Tanneries
outside Bab Debbagh, Marrakech, Morocco
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Ranked #82 of 88 Attractions in Marrakech
Type: Factory Tours, Neighborhoods
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Attraction Details
Fee: No
Recommended length of visit: <1 hour
Owner description: Leather tanning is the major industry in the city. It’s definitely worth a walk through this neighborhood.
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“Intimidating and awful”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed June 2, 2013 via mobile

We were two 20 something women wondering around the medina when a 'helpful' man on a moped insisted that he would help us navigate our way out of the labyrinth. We were desperate and followed. He paused at the tannery and told us we could take a look. We were then conveyed to a filthy looking man who handed us some mint to conceal the awful smell of leather soaking in ammonia.

We were shown around the tannery which is a mass of vile smelling concrete swamps in which leather is being soaked. We learnt very little and were forced to take a photo from the top of the rubble.

You are then processed to the leather shop next door. We tried to make a run for it but were caught by the guide who began shouting at us and demanding money for the photo and tour (neither has been wanted).

The nearby locals all then began shouting too 'you must pay for tour' along with various insults of their choosing. The man then began to poke us and we were very intimidated. He asked for 200 dirhams. He received 20. Which he snatched from my hand and shouted after us.

On the whole this was completely traumatic and not even fun to see!

Visited May 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Aylesbury, United Kingdom
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
“Yes, it stinks, it's a tannery! Still worth a visit”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 25, 2013

Not sure how anyone can mark the tanneries down, especially for the smell ! It's a tannery ! You can't expect it to smell of roses and to have a champagne welcome and red carpet on arrival. If you want to see how leather is cured and how some Maroccons have to work then go and see it, if you don't think you can cope with that, then don't. It stinks to high heaven, the men will go on at you to go in the shops and you will get pestered all the way there by someone wanting to 'help' you. If you want to go then my advise would be the following, head for Bab Debbagh gate at the edge of the city, you can easily walk it from Jemaa El Fna in about 25 minutes, you really don't need a taxi, the tanneries are right at this gate. Literally ignore anyone that offers help. Go the the tannery right by the gate, offer to pay 10 Dirhams per person and no more for a look around, that really is plenty and all we paid for 4 people. When you're done and have got your photos (10-15 minutes), say thank you very much and go. Don't go into the shops, they are expensive and the leather stinks so bad and the dyes come out ect, etc (things I've read on other reviews). If you go into the shops they can pester you for even more money. Worth a visit

Visited May 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Trois-Rivieres, Canada
Top Contributor
118 reviews 118 reviews
20 attraction reviews
Reviews in 65 cities Reviews in 65 cities
113 helpful votes 113 helpful votes
“Definitely worth a visit”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2013

As the whole experience in Marrakech yes you will be pressurized into buying something ( expensive). Yes people are lying to you, yes they will take all means to get you there false guide, caleches drivers etc...yes they will ask for dirhams constantly, but this is no different from the souks, excursions, shops everywhere in Marrakech. The difference here is that by visiting the tanneries you are visiting the middle ages; experiencing odors and colors strong and vivid. It is like living the beginning of the book " le Parfum" from Suskind. A very different experience from the western world...

Visited May 2013
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London, United Kingdom
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
“Hassle-free tanneries experience!”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 30, 2013

I read all of the reviews here before going to the tanneries and I have to say my friend and I (both female), did not experience any of the trouble mentioned in previous reviews. It was early in the morning (around 8am) and we were originally looking to make our way to the south of the medina and asked a man near djemma el-fna for help. He then told us about the special day of the Berbers at the tanneries (blah blah) story, which everyone here seems to mention on here and my friend (who speaks French), agreed to follow, with me very apprehensive and thinking we were being led into a pit of skulduggery!
He said he didn't expect any money for showing us the way. We followed this guy for about 5-10 minutes through winding streets, but I was careful to take photos of/ take note of landmarks so we could easily find our way back.
We got to the tanneries and were handed over to a guy who was waiting at the door with the mint leaves. To be completely honest, the smell is not that bad. I didn't need the mint once. Yes, it is unpleasant, but I've smelt much worse on English farms!
The "guide" within the tanneries rushed us through a little tour, of which I took in very little and then showed us up some stairs to the shop, where we were handed over to the proprietor, who stressed there was no pressure to buy. And lo and behold, there was actually no pressure to buy. The goods here did look of a better quality than those in the souks and the proprietor said the price was fixed. He just explained how things were made and showed us his shop. We thanked him and then he showed us to another lady's shop and after looking round, we left. I couldn't believe it- we actually survived the tanneries and got a free branch of mint to go with it!

As we exited, the "guide" and the guy who had shown us to the tanneries were waiting and asked my friend for a little tip. He wanted 100 dirhams, but my friend basically laughed and told him he wasn't getting that. She gave them 10 dirhams each, but it didn't feel like they would have threatened us or insulted us if we hadn't given them anything.
Maybe it depends on the "guides" you get, as to how aggressive they are with the demands for money. If you are young, it might help to tell people you are a student- that way it is assumed you don't have much money to spend on their expensive leather goods!
I would say the tanneries are worth visiting just because it is something different to see. I would have regretted not experiencing it. However, it is not the most exciting thing to see in Marrakech!

Visited April 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Yardley Gobion, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
“Just Don't!!”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed April 24, 2013

From our experience and those of other tourists that we met, the only way anyone went here was because they were told that they were going to see something else--normally the last day of a Berber festival in a square somewhere, before they return to the mountains---utter tripe! We arrived following our 'helpful' passer-by and got as far as the entrance. A peek inside and one sniff said it all---disgusting!! No wonder they had to con us to get us there. The smell made us both feel sick, in spite of the bunch of mint thrust at us at the entrance! We left very quickly. There are so many amazing and beautiful things to see and smell in Marrakech, why anyone would bother with the tanneries is beyond belief!!

Visited April 2013
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