Whenever I’m in Haarlem, I always visit Ottomania. It’s full of exclusive Turkish bath- and home products. Ottomania has a unique collection of interior decorations and products from countries and regions belonging to the former Ottoman Empire, mainly Turkey and Syria, but also from Lebanon, Tunisia and Greece. Most of the products at Ottomania have been hand-made by artisans and mostly serve a traditional purpose. It’s been a while since my last visit, but I’m still very much in love with my small hand made soap pouches, and my tinned copper hamam bowl. [continue reading after picture]
Hamam bowls are used in the hamam to scoop water from the marble washing basins, which is then poured over you. Large bowls are also used to carry items such as soaps, combs and scrub wash cloths along to the hamam. The hamam bowls are handmade and authentically shaped in copper-ware coated with tin. The motives on the bowls are hammered in and made according to old models.
In my pouches I keep my olive soaps which I also purchased at Ottomania. The olive soap is hand made in Aleppo, Syria. It consists of a mixture of olive oil, bay leaf oil and soda. It is heated in large kettles and then poured out in shallow basins. After a few weeks the mixture has become solid and is then cut into logs with a huge comb. They are stamped with the producers hallmark and piled up in large stacks. Then they are left to dry for seven months. Olive soaps are brown on the outside, but have preserved a beautiful olive green colour on the inside. The smaller soaps are made of moulded olive soap pressed into shapes. People suffering from skin problems can benefit from this pure soap, as can people with severe dandruff. You can even wash your clothes with it. I bought a plain one, and one with herbs. [continue reading after pictures]
If you’re looking for unique and exclusive bath textiles and products with a story, you should definitely visit Ottomania. They also have a webstore and they ship internationally.