Cleaned up by the local authorities in 2001 to attract more visitors, Taroudannt's small tannery quarter is a sight to behold, especially if you haven't visited the larger operations in Fes or Marrakech. Different to the latter two in both size and location, these tanneries are a small but busy operation, and are located outside the medina albeit close to one of the major gates, Bab Targhount. What I like about these tanneries is that they offer a real up-close-and-personal experience where visitors can easily walk up to the pits and watch the dyer in action. The leather is still cured in pigeon droppings and cattle urine, dyed in henna (green), indigo (blue), paprika (red), and turmeric (yellow), and immersed in clay vats and soaked (by hand and foot) until ready.

Shops selling all manner of leather and animal products surround the tanneries, and some bargains, especially compared to those found at the Fes tannery, are to be had. Youss Allal and Youss Brahim, at nos. 25 and 26, respectively, sell some lovely pure lamb's-wool hides (50dh-150dh), funky lamb's-wool/cowhide handbags (120dh-150dh), leather jackets (500dh), and a wide range of leather poufes (foot cushions; 300dh-800dh).

Note: Unfortunately, some shops still offer products made from such things as snake skin and fox hide. It goes without saying that, for both legal and moral reasons, these products are best left on the shelf.