We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
Book On TripAdvisor Bonus Book your hotel on TripAdvisor — then save 20% on things to do for your trip. Use code BOOKTOSAVE.

“very unique” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Tanneries

outside Bab Debbagh, Marrakech, Morocco
Improve this listing
More attraction details
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.
Level Contributor
15 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“very unique”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 7, 2013

You need some mint leaves under your nose, since the smell is unbearable. Very unique place. A must see.

Visited April 2013
Thank travelwith2kids
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

497 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Good experience! ”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 30, 2013 via mobile

First we need to say: what do you think it is? A Spa?

We went to the tanneries knowing what's going on there! They are preparing skin to leather in a - more or less - traditional way! It's worth to go there if you want to see how they make their work! But like the other reviews say - everyone there wants to make money - just don't be afraid to say "No thanks!"
Three points because you can't compare this with f.e. the really beautiful jardin majorelle! But indeed it's special and worth a walk!

Thank Beuul
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual traveler and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
19 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed March 22, 2013

We had a similar experience to other people. As we were walking near our Riad a young man said that he was a neighbour and wanted to tell us that it was a special Berber holiday and that we should visit the leather market. We thought we would have a quick look and at the end of the street another man, who was obviously an associate of the first young man, directed us towards the tanneries. A third man then kept telling us to follow him as he "happened to be going that way". At the entrance of the tanneries we were given sprigs of mint to counteract the stench and entered a scene which looked medieval. Men were in pits of animal urine curing leather hides. The smell was awful. After a few minutes I said I was leaving but the guide said we were half way around so I should carry on. He then tried to persuade me to go to the leather market but I refused. He asked for money and I gave him 20 dirhams but he insisted on 40. Ok, that is not a fortune but the whole experience was unpleasant. If anyone suggests you go to the tanneries just say NO.

Visited March 2013
1 Thank Michael Z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
82 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
“Don't be afraid to say no!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 21, 2013

Having read lots of negative reviews of visiting the Tanneries on Tripadvisor, I feel that I have to respond. I have traveled quite a lot and I think you only need to be as wary as in any other country.

We looked up the tanneries on the map and made our way there, generally ignoring the young men on the way trying to point us in directions we knew to be incorrect. As with walking anywhere in Marrakech, dawdling and obviously checking your map will attract more attention.

We made it to outside one tannery (apparently Berber rather than Arab so they were tanning larger hides). Having read all the reviews we were prepared for a terrible smell, but anyone who has grown up anywhere near a farm or who has ever smelt gone off meat will have experienced something worse!

We were given some mint as a "gas mask" though and then shown round by the son of the tannery keeper. He explained each of the stages and took us on the roof to take some photos.

We then went to the cooperative shop just along the road, where we were explained everything about the leather products. This was really interesting.

There was no doubt that the products were of high quality but the keeper did not seem keen to negotiate and there was no way we could afford the prices he asked for.

We therefore gave him a 50dh donation and a further 25 to the son who was waiting outside. The products were beautiful and we told the keeper that. I think they were surprised that we offered a donation before being asked and the compliments sweetened the deal.

Don't be tempted to buy the products unless money is no object - my boyfriend wanted a satchel and the price offered in the tannery was 1600dh (£131) and we were able to buy it for 340 (£28.50) in the market after some serious haggling!

An interesting visit, but don't let yourself be pressurised. There is not point paying more than you would at home, all you will go home with is buyer's remorse! The satisfaction of good haggling is much better!

Visited March 2013
Thank Thriftystudent89
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Havant, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“The pits of hell.”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed March 7, 2013

One month on and the smell is ingrained in my nostrils, and I'm still a little traumatised.
This place is impossible to find without a local person, even with a map....yes, I was actually seeking it out :-s
We walked for ages, even going outside the Medina walls (looked easier to find on the map), to try and find this place, that was an experiance in itself, we did not feel safe. Men were coming to the edge of the street just to stare at us as we walked by.
On this occasion, it was starting to get dark and we really were in the middle of nowhere, so had to head back to our Riad, it was a complete waste of a few hours.

A couple of days later, I was still keen to find this place as I had seen some interesting photos online of the big pools of brightly coloured dye.
This time we got our driver from an excursion company to take us and what we found was something very different.
As with the other reviews we were greeted by one man who gave us the fresh mint to mask the smell (it didn't), this 'tour' he provided us with was about ten minutes long and he told us what the young men were doing, there wasn't much room for walking so we took some pictures from where we stood.
The smell was the worst I have ever smelt, like 1000 dead dogs. The 'pools' weren't filled with any dye but instead pigeon poo and mud.
When I start to hate my job back home, I like to imagine working there and all of a sudden I feel much better!!

So like other posts, we were handed over to someone else, starts off all friendly and then they trap you in the 'shop', with all manner of leather goods, then comes the hard sell with the carpets upstairs, they sit you down, get another guy in to roll them all out for you.
Just so happens I'm a vegan so that was a good Get out of jail free card, I explained I don't buy animal products and they didn't really know what to say so had to let us free, they tried to get us to visit another shop, up some stairs on the way out, this is where the women are and they have leather jackets etc....again, nothing for vegans ;)

We were making a run for it back to the car and another 'manager', is waiting outside with a lot of other young men, he asks for a donation for the workers (yeah yeah), My husand gives him 200Dhs, so just under £20ish (?!) I think that was very generous, I would have given less but I think he had had enough by then and wanted out. Plus our driver was waiting so they had no reason to kick off.

In a way i am glad we visited this place as it made me think of how others live and made me more greatful for what I have.
Not exactly a relaxing time on holiday, if thats what your looking for but it is what it is and best taken with a pinch of salt, like some of the things seen in the main sqaure of Marrakech.

Later on the same day, we encountered a young man just hanging around the street, didn't find him to be a threat, he advised us to go and 'look at all the dyeing of leather' & 'lovely spice market', 'only for today'. Ofcourse it was The Tanneries, or another scam.
We had seen enough and told him that we had already been and give him a knowing grin, seemed to do the trick.
Happy Holidays.

Visited February 2013
1 Thank Victoria B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Tanneries also viewed

Marrakech, Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz Region
Marrakech, Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz Region
Marrakech, Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz Region
Marrakech, Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz Region

Been to Tanneries? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing