Saturday, May 19, 2012

2000 years of history...

Soap in vat

Soap cooling

Drying the soaps

From our friends Maja and Mättu we received an Aleppo soap which they had bought during a stay in Syria. I had never heart of Aleppo soap and so I got to know it's impressive and magic history. 

Aleppo is an antic town in Syria (I guess you sadly all know...) where this legendary, natural soap is produced.  It's history goes back as far as 2000 years and it is still produced the traditional way up to this day. The soap also mentioned in the bible. 
It is said that Jesus and his followers used and appreciated it. 

The Arabs brought the soap to Massilla (now known as Marseille). The inhabitants of Marseille started to produce their own version of the soap principally using olive oil. 
So the Aleppo soap is clearly the forerunner of the soap of Provence.

Production of the Aleppo soaps starts in November after the harvest of olives and ends in March.  The soap consists of olive oil, soda (made from sea salt) and laurel oil. It's the latter that makes the quality, character and the fragrant of the soap. The soaps are cut and stamped by hand and dried for the duration of at least 9 months. The longer the drying lasts, the more valuable the soap gets. When watching the video you'll see under what circumstances the soaps are produced. It's a world which here is history since long, very long and that's what it makes even more precious.

No preservatives or other ingredients are added, it has never been tested on animals and it is completely biodegradable. It can be used for the face, body and hair. It has a lot of fantastic qualities: It is said to be helpful with psoriasis, allergies, eczemas, dandruff, it can be used as a facial mask and it helps soothing insect bites and it keeps of the moths from your clothes cupboard.

I am so impressed by all this! When holding the soap I feel like holding a piece of history in my hands and it makes me feel deeply grateful and down-to-earth.

By the way: The soap's smell is special and unusual at the beginning. When you have adopted - you think it is most wonderful and very natural.

Last but not least: 
Let's also think about the people in Syria who are undergoing very hard times 
of suffering, suppression and death.

♥ Emilie's daughter 


  1. What a wonderful gift from your friends and made that much more special by learning its history and how it has been made! I love traditional things, you don't see so such much soap for sale these days with liquid soap now dominating the market. Your post proves it is worth finding these gems and using and appreciating them.Thank you so much for sharing.
    Sarah x

  2. Oh it looks beautiful
    I thought it was chocolate
    it looks so delicious, you could almost eat it!

    A lovely gift from your friend.

    Have a great weekend, relax and enjoy.

    Fiona x

  3. Dear Christa - I love this post, the history of the soap, and also your reminder about the people of Syria, who have been removed from our thoughts, due to the recession and euro crisis. Humanity is more important than money♥

  4. This was very interesting. I've never heard about this soap before but I'm sure it must be great. So nice for you. Have a great saturday.


  5. I think (I actually know) that Plutus mentions Aleppo in (Canto VII) Dante's Divina Commedia, speaking in a mixture of Greek and Latin ("Pape`, Satan, Aleppo! Pape`, Satan, Aleppo!") You see?

    I think the soap in question is what, in the olden days used to be called "carbolic" ( I hope I spelt this right!) soap. It can sometimes be seen in the kitchens of old National Trust stately homes, here in UK. It has a very strong, unpleasant tar like but smell, but I quite like it!

    Having carefully read your post, which wasn't easy, as it's written in very pale gray and I'm not wearing my glasses... if it's made using olive oil, it can't be the soap I'm talking about, as here in UK they wouldn't have used olive oil for soap making, but animal fat, which is not very nice, but that's how the world goes...

    Dante, though, did mention Aleppo (in the Inferno part of the Divine Comedy) but not the soap, maybe because when you go the Hell you don't wash. At least, I don't think you do... which is the reason why I'd rather go to Heaven (I'm a very clean person!)

    I hope you enjoyed my Post-Modern comment! I'm still trying to make sense of it!



  6. Very special, it is place that is not visited that much.


  7. What a wonderful post! I have a weakness for special soaps and the history of this is very special--Syria seems so exotic. The pictures are gorgeous, and I look forward to watching the video. I appreciate your reminder of the current situation in Syria.

  8. Hej Christa,
    von dieser Seife habe ich noch nie gehört!
    Eine schöne Geschichte hast du dazu geschrieben!
    Ja und das Volk von Syrien macht eine schwere Zeit durch, nur weil ein Einzelner seine Macht nicht
    aufgeben will!