29 September 2014
Be careful, this post written by Nur smells deliciously!

Gökçeada, Imroz in Greek, is an island in the extreme west of Turkey. Its remote location makes it a quiet and romantic niche surrounded by its own history. For thousands of years Turkey and Greece shared cultures and places in a beautiful harmony and this place preserves the treasure of the exchange. Last summer I travelled to Gökçeada; 7 years after my first trip to the island I found a grown tourism which however hadn’t spoiled the calm wild and naïf spirit that distinguishes this island from the other ones in Greece. Losing my way through the narrow streets of Kaleöy, the ancient city, I discovered the soap lab, or better, the soap atelier, Imroza. The motto of Aziz, the founder, is to invent a soap with the scent of the island: his cakes of soap are made with essential oils coming from the plants that grow on the islands: olive oil, nettle, rosemary, mint, lavender, chamomile, jasmine, rose…and then also oil made from pine trees, almond trees, laurel oak, lemon and orange trees. Just one curios little thing: Aziz uses also rainwater for his soap and goat milk, which is a real elixir for our hair. I wanted to know Aziz better, so I asked him some questions…

What lucky chance brought you on this island?

While I was working for a company in Istanbul I was asked to do some research here in Gökçeada to find out more about biological olive oil. My wife and I fell in love with the island at first sight. We bought an acreage and left everything in our town to start all over again here in Gökçeada.

What did you leave to come here?

I’m food engineer and I was manager of an important company in Istanbul and my wife used to work for a TV channel. We were wealthy, but we left our career, our house and everything else to come here.

How did you learn how to make soap?

At first our only goal was to live well and slowly, in close contact with nature. We wanted to be completely self-sufficient. We made bread, cheese, yogurt, wine, beer and even electricity, because this island is very windy. I read a lot about the production of soap here and when I tried to actually do it all of our friends were absolutely enthusiastic. We created our own brand and so Imroza Soap was born. We make soap as naturally as possible (the so-called cold production), using local ingredients.

Here you have a healthy and qualitative life. Hey Aziz, tell us what we as mere citizens are missing…

True. Here we have a beautiful life. We are never sick, we never have headache, we sleep well and the air we breathe is clean and there’s no traffic. The water we drink is fantastic and finding local meat, poultry and eggs is absolutely easy. We work all the time, from the morning to the evening, but it’s not a problem. I’m incredibly happy for having chosen this life because every morning we wake up with a smile and a wonderful landscape. What more do you want?


Thanks Nur for opening up these windows on a west so close to us.

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