Samir Constantini, a Franco- Syrian doctor, had a dream: to bring the famous Aleppo soap of his ancestral homeland to France. He began selling Aleppo soap door to door to French pharmacies after work. Soon, after a trip to Aleppo, he began a partnership with Hassan Harastani, a master soapmaker, importing his soap to France.
When the Civil war broke out in Syria, Harastani’s soap factory was bombed, and he and his family fled to Lebanon. So Constantini urged him to move to France. Today they are jointly running Alepia soap, pure Aleppo soap made in traditional methods in a factory in Santeny, France. An estimated 90% of Aleppo soap factories were destroyed in the war. For Constantini, safeguarding Aleppo’s heritage is saving humanity’s heritage. “All of the soap in the world has its origins in the soap of Aleppo,” he says.