MB attended a Farmer’s Market in Doha today and had the pleasure of coming across a market trader selling 100% genuine Aleppo Soap. As far as MB was aware, the soap industry of Aleppo ceased completely because of the war and it’s no longer possible to buy the real thing. Maybe some Syrian reader can confirm, or otherwise, MB’s statement.
Soap from Aleppo is generally considered the oldest soap in the world, dating back at least 2,000 years. But nobody really knows when production started. It was considered a favourite of Queen Cleopatra of Egypt and other royalty of that time.
The recipe remains the same for the most part as it was a few thousand years ago. The main ingredients are olive oil and laurel oil. When the soap is cut into blocks in the factory, it is stored for approximately 9 months before sale. This allows a number of chemical changes to take place and a reduction in the moisture content, resulting in a very lightweight but durable soap that is browned on the outside while remaining green on the inside. The blocks in the below photo is, in the opinion of MB, only some 25% of the weight of more normal everyday soaps.
On asking the French lady market trader (Mrs Noor) today how she managed to procure fresh Aleppo Soap, she informed MB that she and husband bought a full steel container load of it back in 2012, before the war stopped exports, and eventually, production. She expects that her remaining stock will run out in the coming months.
Syria and its soap have much in common it would seem.
For those who might be interested in contacting Mrs Noor and/or purchasing some products online, she can be contacted on any of the following: email@example.com (email), http://www.noonnabalsy.com (website), NOON Nabalsy Paris (facebook), noon.ethic.organic.skincare (Instagram).
Mrs Noor also sells a variety of other cosmetics, all produced by small-scale artesian producers from a wide variety of countries. Her stories of each producer are as fascinating as the products themselves.
Unknown to most in MB’s homeland is the fact that in the majority land area of the Middle East, music is forbidden. In the local lingo, it’s haram. Allegedly, according to those of such beliefs, it’s not God’s will that people should sing or play or listen to music. Read More
At end of 2014 the number of forcibly displaced people in the world was estimated by the UN to be over 50M. The highest number since WW2. Africa, as ever, is one of the race leaders. But in the last 4 or 5 years it’s Syria that’s won the gold medal. 0.25M or thereabouts dead as dodos. Some 2.5 to 3M have fled the country and some 6.5M people are displaced within the country itself. A huge proportion of the countries housing stock is totally destroyed. Read More