The scent of a cinnabon. It’s an intoxicating alchemy of sugar, cinnamon and butter that lures weary travelers in airports and malls across America. And now, that unmistakable smell is swirling through the streets of war-torn Tripoli, Libya, reports NPR.
It’s a story that began before Libya’s revolution in 2011, when brothers Arief and Ahmed Swaidek launched a Cinnabon franchise in the country’s capital. They were the first to bring a U.S. chain to Libya, but with conflict brewing and a ship carrying their first cinnamon bun supplies stuck offshore, the brothers boarded up the shop and fled with their families.
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When they returned to Tripoli after Muammar Gaddafi’s regime had been overthrown, the Swaideks weren’t sure what they would find. Miraculously, their shop remained undamaged, allowing them to open for business this summer. The Cinnabon is shared with a Carvel Ice Cream shop on a busy shopping street in Tripoli’s business district. And according to NPR, Libyans have been lining up around the block to get their hands on a sticky treat. Freedom has never tasted so sweet. Literally.