The Soap Museum, located in Saida, traces the history of soap making in the region, its development and manufacturing techniques. Visitors can see a demonstration of how traditional olive oil soaps are made and learn about the history of the “hammam” (bath) traditions. This museum is set in a beautiful set of old vaulted rooms fully restored. It allows visitors to discover the different stages of the production of artisanal soap made from olive oil, as well as the diversity of its forms and properties.
The visitor can thus understand the techniques of cooking, drying, cutting and sizing of handmade soap. Showcases display the various utensils and objects used in the hammams, found during on-site excavation and which include remains of clay pipe heads dating from the 17th to 19th century, as well as pottery fragments. The Museum building is an old soap factory built in the 17th century, although containing parts thought to date back to the 13th century.
At the end of the visit, a short 10-minute film, subtitled in French and English, shows some Lebanese craftsmen explaining their way of working, and their desire to transmit their know-how and their love of this craft to the next generations.