Somalilandsun: Used for 6,000 years as a perfume and panacea, frankincense is an aromatic resin harvested from trees of the genus Boswellia, which grow only in a narrow climate range that extends from the region known as the Horn of Africa to India and parts of southern China.
Most of the global frankincense supply comes from Somaliland as well as Somalia, Eritrea and Yemen, three countries that have been plagued by conflict in recent years, which has had a negative impact on incense production.
The frankincense resin value is determined by its color, size and oil concentration. The most valuable type, known as hojari, comes from a narrow belt of dry microclimate in the Dhofar Mountains, out of reach of the summer monsoons that cover the tip of the Arabian Peninsula.
Today, this region is part of what is known as the Incense Route in Oman, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
“The olibado trade that flourished in this region for many centuries [foi] one of the most important commercial activities in the ancient and medieval world “, says the description of Unesco.
From here, caravans with thousands of camels and slaves laden with incense set out on a hard 2,000 km journey through the Arabian desert, destined for the Egyptian, Babylonian, Greek and Roman empires. Meanwhile, ships were transporting the resin to more distant ports, such as China. Continue reading