Tripoli - Khan Al Sabun
One of the most notable facets of historical Tripoli, still in use today.
There are several khans in the souks. Kh`an-as-S`aboun built at the
beginning of the seventieth century. Originally it was intended to serve as
a military barracks to garrison Ottoman troops and it was purposely built in
the center of the city to enable the pasha to control any uprising.
It is a large imposing rectangular structure with two story arcade
corridors running around a fountain courtyard. The outer walls had a
number of loopholes and arrow slits for defense purposes. In front
of the building was an arched portal, flanked by stone benches for
the pasha’s guards. A white marble plaque commemorates the building
of this splendid military barracks of Tripoli. The battle of Anjar
Tripoli fell to Fakhr-ed-Din, the Ottoman garrison fled to join his
routed forces in Syria. The army of Fakhr-ed-Din occupied the
barracks briefly, but also in the years that followed the building
stood empty and useless.
To the inhabitants of Tripoli this seemed to be a great waste so a petition was
sent to the residence of Fakhr-ed-Din, with the request to turn the building
into a soap factory and warehouse. From that day until the present time the
Ottoman barracks have served as Tripoli’s flourishing Soap Khan or Khan as-Saboun.