The colours are spectacular, blazing from rooftops and glistening from darkened stores. In Morocco you don’t have to look far to find good craftsmanship and traditions that have passed through generations for centuries. Look closer when walking through the alleyways of the souk and there are often poky workshops where men craft intricate metal work or fashion elegant slippers. Here are some of the very best craft places and an insight into traditional crafts in Morocco.
The Moroccan souks are full of leather bags, camel saddles and shoes, many hand crafted and locally produced. Visitors to places like Fes and Marrakech can take a tour of the tanneries where animal skin is prepared and dyed. The smell will greet you before the sight itself but it is another fascinating aspect of traditional Moroccan workmanship. The bags and slippers are crafted in the back rooms of the souks and make a delightful souvenir.
The intricate designs and colours are spectacular and it is all too easy to be drawn into a carpet seller’s shop. Take time to admire the craftsmanship though, and the work that has gone into the designs and making of the rug. There are traditional Berber patterns as well as those with a more Islamic feel to them. If haggling with the carpet seller is all too much for you then take some time out and visit the Musee de Marrakech where some of the best designs from the High Atlas are on display.
There are tiles, tagine pots and beautifully coloured bowls in the Moroccan souks. Most are hand made and glazed and have the most wonderful shades and designs. The designs are influenced by various cultures from Roman to Berber and Arab. The best ceramics are seen in Fez which is renowned for its use of cobalt oxide in many shades of blue. Several of the geometric designs are really complex and are traditionally passed from father to son.
Look around the souk for the signs of beautiful metal craft and listen out for banging as some of the items are actually crafted in the workshops down the alleys. From lanterns with intricate designs to copper sinks and hooks there are many useful and interesting items decorating the souks. Some are even made from old tin cans showing a trend towards recycling. Look out for the brass teapots and trays which are beautifully engraved.
Just looking around Morocco there is a wealth of crafts which is all part of the culture and heritage of this beautiful nation. So much to choose from and a delight for a shopaholic.
*Image of Moroccan antique lamps via Shutterstock
*Image of handcrafts shot at the market in Morocco via Shutterstock