Nabilsi Soap from Palestine and Jordan???
how is it made??
- 1 decade agoFavorite Answer
Palestine - Nablus
The birth of the Nablus soap industry can be traced back hundreds of years to the tenth century. Most of factories are located in the old city. At the outset of the 19th century Nablus was a home for more than 30 soap factories. Most of them are still functioning. The soap factory was a symbol of industrial and social enterprise. It was also an indicator of wealth and influence. The soap factories usually produce several kinds of Nablusi soap: white soap, green soap and sweet-scented soap.
During the British occupation of Palestine the Mandatory government made an analysis of the Nablusi soap blending process at the London Institute in 1934. The result of the analysis showed that the soap consisted only of natural materials. No harmful chemical materials were found.
The soap industries of Nablus provided the most important manufactured export from Palestine in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The soap was made from pure olive oil, water, and elm ashes as well as plaster, obtained mainly from local groves.
The soap is from a soap factory in Nablus (also known as Shechem in the Old Testament), Palestine, a 4,000 year old city in the Levantine interior 30 miles to the north of Jerusalem, 25 miles from the Mediterranean, and 30 miles to the south of Jenin. Nablus is surrounded on all sides by rugged rounded mountains at around 2,500-2,900 feet above sea level. The city itself, nestled in the east-west trending U-shaped valley, is about 1,600 feet above sea level. It sits strategically astride ancient crossroads that connect the Mediterranean coast to the Jordan River, and Damascus in the north to Jerusalem and Mecca in the south. Pilgrims passed through Nablus on their way from Damascus to Mecca and back again.
The soap wrapper, which is 9 by 9 inches, is crinkly white with a waxy feel on the top side and a papery feel on the underside next to the soap. Bright Arabic lettering on the wrapper is in two colors: what I call “Mediterranean blue” and “Nubian sandstone”. In the center of the wrapper is a placid-looking one-humped camel (Nubian sandstone color) standing beneath a thick symmetrical blue arch with white Arabic lettering. The wrapper, secured with a single dot of some adhesive, hugs the soap. The soap has been hand-wrapped: the corners are uneven and puffed up in places.
The chunk of soap inside the wrapping is the color of the page of an old book. The chunk is 1 and ½ inches tall and 2 ¼ inches by 2 ¼ inches wide. It is not exactly a “bar” of soap and not exactly a “cube” of soap. It fits well in the palm of my hand. I can grip it with my fingertips just reaching the edge of the top of the soap. The soap is firm and unyielding, but easily scraped with a fingernail. There is a seal hammered into the top surface of the soup, showing a camel inside a circle that is 1 ¾ inches in diameter. The soap’s smell is very distinctive, somewhat like the original Ivory soap from the 1950s--that is, NO perfume whatsoever--only the smell of the cooked and dried Nabulsi ingredients. The Nablusi workers who make this soap are proud of its unique smell, which signifies to them the quality and purity of its ingredients.
Nablus’ Soap Economy
Soap-manufacturing was Nablus’ dominant and most dynamic economic sector in the 19th century when some 30 soap factories manufactured tons of soap for regional markets, especially Egypt and her military. (1) Nablus soap was made out of olive oil, the primary agricultural produce of Nablus and its environs (together known as Jabal Nablus). Nablus soap has long had a fine reputation. For example, in the 14th century, Shaykh Shams al-Din al-Ansari al-Dimashqi (1326-1327 AD) said: “The city of Nablus…was bestowed by God Almighty with the blessed olive tree.
Its olive oil is carried by Bedouins to the Egyptian and Damascene lands, to the Hijaz, and the steppes…In it a superior soap is produced and sent to the above-mentioned destinations and to the islands of the Mediterranean Sea.” (2) In the 1830s, John Bowring wrote that “Nablous [sic] soap is highly esteemed in the Levant.”] The Syrian historian Muhammad Kurd Ali wrote in the 1930s that “Nablus soap is the best and most famous soap today for it has, it seems, a quality not found in others and the secret is that it is unadulterated and well produced.” (2)
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