Sunday Photo – The Tanneries, Fes, Morocco

I have just watched the BBC programme about city dwelling creatures and they featured one of the most adept species at living off humans – the common pigeon.

Unusually they showed pigeons in Fes, where they are very useful as their droppings are used in the leather dying industry that has been practiced there for centuries.


I visited myself in 2005. The main tannery is situated deep in the old town souk area of a truly fascinating city. We were led to a viewing gallery, a balcony at the rear of a Moroccan clothing shop.

We were even handed sprigs of mint to help us counter the stench, which was indeed highly pungent. Think chicken manure, plus sulphur, plus rotting fish and you will come close.

The poor chaps that have to heave weighty hides whilst stood waist deep in coloured water must surely have got used to the stink. I can’t think that they were paid very handsomely for their unpleasant toil and the long-term effects on their health can’t have been good.

That’s what I call really earning a living!

The Tanneries, Fes, Morocco.

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