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Aleppo Soap: The Aromatic Allure.

Aleppo Soap: Photographs capture the expertise of a skilled craftsman from Aleppo as he carefully cuts a soap bar with precision.
Aleppo:

Aleppo is a historic city located in northern Syria. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, with a rich and diverse history that spans thousands of years. Aleppo has served as a significant center of trade, culture, and civilization throughout various periods, making it a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Geographically, Aleppo is situated in the north-western part of Syria, close to the border with Turkey. It sits on a strategic position along the ancient trade routes that connected the Mediterranean Sea to Mesopotamia and beyond. The city occupies a large area and is divided into several districts and neighbourhoods.

Historically, the city has been a melting pot of different cultures and civilizations. It has been influenced by various empires and peoples, including the Hittites, Assyrians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Seljuks, Mamluks, Ottomans, and French. As a result, the city boasts a remarkable architectural and cultural heritage, with influences from different periods and styles.

One of the most iconic landmarks in Aleppo is its Citadel, a massive medieval fortress located at the heart of the old city. The Citadel dates back to the 3rd millennium BCE, with subsequent additions and modifications made by various rulers. It offers panoramic views of the city and stands as a testament to Aleppo’s historical significance.

The old city is another major attraction. Its labyrinthine streets are lined with ancient buildings, traditional houses, markets, and mosques. The Souq, a bustling marketplace, is one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world, dating back to the 14th century. It was a vibrant center of commerce and cultural exchange, renowned for its handicrafts, textiles, spices, and other goods.

Aleppo has been an important center for craftsmanship and traditional industries, with skilled artisans specializing in various trades such as textile weaving, metalwork, wood carving, and soap making. The city’s traditional crafts have a long-standing reputation for their quality and beauty.

Aleppo Soap:

Aleppo soap is far more than a mere commercial label; it embodies profound historical significance. The deep-rooted connection between this soap and Aleppo stretches back 4,000 years, representing the earliest known soap production in human history. Through generations, the art of soap-making has been faithfully preserved, with the manufacturing process remaining unchanged to this very day.

Crafted from natural elements like olive oil, laurel oil, alkaline substances, and water, Aleppo laurel soap is celebrated as a true embodiment of natural soap. Throughout the ages, it has served a multitude of purposes – from moisturizing and protecting hair and skin to providing therapeutic benefits in soothing joints and muscles.

Beyond its practical advantages, laurel oil imparts a delightful fragrance and a vibrant green hue to Aleppo laurel soap. Extracting this precious oil follows a distillation method traditionally employed by villagers residing in the mountainous coastal regions of Syria, spanning from Antioch to Kassab.

In the saponification process, an alkaline substance derived from the burning of the Anabasis plant, found in the Syrian Badia, is employed. However, due to increased production demands, some soap factories have incorporated supplementary alkaline products.

The Aleppo soap industry revolves around the olive harvest and its subsequent processing, with soap production commencing in November and extending until March or April. For centuries, Aleppo soap, also known as laurel soap, has been renowned for its distinctive cubical shape.

Despite its unassuming appearance, the soap’s enchanting fragrance and vibrant colour transport one’s imagination, heart, and memories to the bustling Perfumers Market situated within the heart of the grand bazaar in old Aleppo. Its captivating aroma evokes fond recollections of the fragrant bay leaves experienced in traditional public bathhouses (Hammams). The soap’s variations stem from the concentration of bay oil infused into the magical blend of oils that formulates it.

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