In all living beings skin is the outer integumentary covering which covers the body and forms a barrier to protect the body from heat, cold, whether conditions, external effects, impacts, pressure, parasitic animals and disease-causing microorganisms. Skin, which is a living organ before the animal is slaughtered, is exposed to different processes to meet our several needs once skinned off the animal. After these processes, the hide is given a unique flexible structure, color and smell and is made less susceptible to decomposition. The durable, soft and flexible hide at this stage is called “processed leather”. Leather use has an older history than the invention of textile. Present day elegant leather goods that are processed by advanced techniques are a culmination of a long historical development. The heydays of the Turkish leather trade was the Ottoman Empire era. However, with the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, Turkish leather trade regressed as well. In Turkey, Gerede is one the first places which comes to mind when talking about leather. Leather tanning in Gerede is a traditional art which dates back to centuries. Since 1395 when Gerede annexed to Ottoman Empire, she was introduced to leather tanning through Ahi community and leather tanning arts were perpetuated to present day. Leather suppliers in Gerede who continued their traditional production for long years, started to use modern technologies extensively and made Gerede one of the leading centers for the leather sector in Turkey. Gerede which is second to İstanbul in processed leather production, provides nearly 40% of the shoe-leather production. The processed leather is marketed to the domestic shoe production industries and is exported in substantial amounts. This paper will review the chronological history of leather tanning in Gerede, the types of leathers being produced and the production techniques.
Keywords: Tanning, Leather, Finished Leather