Olive Oil Soap

Nablus- the uncrowned queen of Palestine- is famous for its Turkish baths, traditional sweets and its olive oil soap.

The tradition of producing and using olive oil soap is deeply rooted in Palestinian culture particularly in the Nablus.

Before 1948 there were 43 soap factories in Nablus alone, today there are only 3 working factories working to preserve this craft and tradition.

One of the most important soap factories in Nablus is the Nabulsi Soap Factory which is located in the famous old city of Nablus. The factory which is still in use today is estimated to be over 800 years old. The Olive oil used to be stored in the factory itself, in huge underground wells.

To make the soap:

The olive oil is mixed with the rest of the ingredients in a “cooking pot”, the pot is made of stone and its minimum diameter is 3 meters. All the ingredients are heated and mixed together. Once the mixture is done (tested by a specialist- usually called “the chief”), it is laid down on a thin paper- wax paper- to cool off. The soap is then measured, stamped and cut.

After cooling off completely, the soap bars are stacked in a tower shaped structure – the whole structure is called (tanoor). The Tanoor is then left to breath for 2-3 months before packaging.

Ps. A special thanks for the Nabulsi family for letting us in and showing us around