Cus­toms & tra­di­tions

The ar­ti­sans keep­ing age-old tra­di­tions alive

Lebanon Traveler - - CONTENTS -

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

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