Larger cities have medinas and souks are central marketplaces, usually in the center of the medina. Larger souks, such as those in the Fez medina, house shops of textiles, spices, furniture, rugs, and jewelry. Moroccan artists and artisans ply their wares and talents daily. Morocco, which has been known for centuries for its craftsmen, sell leather goods and carpets, shoes, and even spices of the highest quality.
Moroccan women have been making rugs and carpets for millennia. Moroccan rugs are available now only to those who are willing to pay the price. Making of one rug can a month or more than a year to complete. Moroccan rugs are famous for quality, both in workmanship and colors. Prices often depend on whether the rug is woven or knotted. Knotted rugs take much longer to complete and are much more expensive. Berber carpets are probably the most famous. Carpets from those living in the High Atlas Mountains people are known for rich warm colors. Carpets made by the people south of Meknes have more detailed weavings.
Objects made of leather are another famous Moroccan craft item. Leather working in Morocco had been going on as long as carpet weaving. Different areas of Morocco are skilled at making different items. In the Rif Mountains, craftsmen make satchels, shoulder bags, belts and leather-covered earthenware. Marrakech artists are known for leather clothing and camel saddles. Other things such as banana-yellow babouches (slippers) and ottomans are also quite popular and available in most medinas.
Painted boxes and bowls are but a couple of the examples of woodwork that is available in such areas such as Essaouira. Different areas are known for different things made of wood. Around Essaouira, items are made from burls of the aromatic thuya tree. Beautiful bowls and boxes as well as furniture are carved from this wood. Painted boxes and carved wooden latticework are found in the Fez area. Marrakech has larger things such as painted or sculptured panels, chests that have inlaid designs or elaborate doors.
Jewelry making is another well known Moroccan handicraft. Earlier in the country’s history, Jewish people living in various areas of Morocco were the jewelry makers. They passed the craft down through the ages. Today, there are many skilled artists that work with gold and silver. Like woodworking, different kinds of jewelry are made in different areas of Morocco.
Marrakesh was the major stop in Morocco for caravan routes completing the trans-Saharan Journey. Jewelry in Marrakech has the influence found in sub-Saharan Africa. Tangier and Fez have jewelry that shows the Andalusia designs, while enamelware is most popular in Essaouira. In the rural areas, silver is most valued. The Berber peoples in the mountains work their jewelry from this precious metal. Here silver is made into necklaces, bracelets, anklets and forehead diadems. Berbers, also make daggers inlaid with precious stones, trays and tea services along with silver boxes and pots.
Moroccans make basket ware from palm trees. Colorful hats, trays, and straw boxes are made in very village in the country.
Ceramics are another famous craft item. Clay jars; vases, plates and cooking dishes called tagines have been made for centuries in Morocco. Each area of the country is known for a certain type of ceramic or color. Zagoran pottery has a greenish finish, probably influenced by the green of the oasis. Sale has colored glazing on its decorative pottery. Fez has the most famous pottery that uses many colors with silver inlay. Berber craftsman near Marrakech make ochre-colored ware. Ceramic tiles are the origin of the Moroccan mosaics which are famous. Many cooperatives have been formed to make these ceramic tiles. The cooperatives in Fez are the most well known. Elaborate patterns are created by these groups.
These aforementioned wares are only but a few that can be found in Morocco. Craftsmen work in gold, with stones, and use copper and iron. Embroidered textiles are another type of handicraft famous in Morocco, along with hand woven textiles. A visit to a medina or souk would show many things made in Morocco.