Old Anatolia Tanneries
Luftu Foto

Journalist, writer and photographer: He has been working on culture and folklore in Anatolia since 1977.

The Seljukid Turks settled in Anatolia and became an empire in which leather was widely used. Previously they were known in central Asia for their skilled craftsmanship. The first evidence for the existence of Turkish leather was found in Çatalhöyük.

The people who cured hides in the ancient way without the use of electricity were known as Karatabak. They used only their own physical strength and naturally occurring chemical products. At present, only one person in Bergama continues with this tradition; his name is Ismail Arac and he is 87 years old.

It is our task to make known the cultural background of the artisanal process of making leather that was so prominent in Anatolia for thousands of years.

The photographs were taken in the 1980s and 1990s.

Lyutfy Datao
Lútfü Dağtaș