Built in the early 17th Century by the pasha of Tripoli, ‘Yusuf al-Saifi’, this landmark was strategically designed and built in the middle of the city to serve as military barracks for garrison Ottoman troops. This enabled the pasha to monitor and act upon any uprising.
The vast rectangular structure boasts two-story covered passageways that revolve around a courtyard graced with a fountain. The outer walls are fortified with arrow openings and loopholes, serving as a defense mechanism. At the front of the building lies an arched portal surrounded by stone benches meant for the pasha's guards. A white marble plate commemorates the construction of this captivating military edifice.
In the course of the battle of Anjar, Yusuf Pasha was imprisoned and when Fakhr-ed Dine took control of Tripoli, the Ottoman garrison took off to accompany the other forces in Syria. The building stood vacant and useless in the coming years after it was occupied by Fakhr ed-Dine’s army. This seemed like a valuable waste to the citizens of Tripoli and they intended to act on it. They petitioned to Deir al-Qamar (Fakhr-ed-Din’s residence) requesting approval to transform the structure into a soap factory, and it was authorized. Since then, the Ottoman military barracks have blossomed, developed and served as Tripoli’s Khan as-Saboun.