Customs & traditions
The artisans keeping age-old traditions alive
With the support of Lebanon’s Ministry of Tourism, we explore Lebanon’s long history of copperware, glassblowing and pottery
COPPER AND SOAP MAKING IN TRIPOLI
In the souks of Tripoli, copper and soap are still being made by hand by local artisans and craftsmen, who continue the trades of their ancestors before them.
Traces of copper making and metal work can be found in Lebanon as early as the Bronze Age. Today, copperwares are centralized in Tripoli’s copper market, the Souk el Nahasine. As one of the area’s most prominent copper-makers, Osman Tartousy recalls the souk once humming with the sound of metal shaping copper plates. “You couldn’t talk when walking down Nahasine Street, so loud was the pounding of hammer on metal.” Each stand lining the Souk el Nahasine glimmers with the promise of treasure awaiting you within.
The art and science of soap-making has also taken root in Tripoli’s old souk. Tripoli’s Khan el Saboun is speckled with colorful olive-oil soaps whose fragrance imbue the courtyard with a lovely, floral scent. The use of soap originated in the Arab world, where precious olive oils were used in the many hammams of the Ottoman era. Visitors can buy organic and locally made soap from the artisans that still inhabit the beautiful Khan el Saboun.
POTTERY IN BATROUN
The ancient craft of pottery making has been essential to the development and growth of human civilization in Lebanon and worldwide. Pottery was once the main source of income for the village of Assia in Batroun, where the craft was passed on from father