Crafting traditional olive oil soap in Palestine

The Tuqan factory in Nablus is the oldest survivor of this once-prominent industry.

Rich Wiles | | Middle East, Israel, Palestine

Nablus, occupied West Bank - The Palestinian city of Nablus has long been renowned for the production of olive oil soap. With origins reportedly stretching back more than 1,000 years, the localised practice progressed to an industrial scale around the 14th century.

Several factories were destroyed by the 1927 earthquake that hit the city, and later, Israeli military attacks on Nablus during the second Intifada caused irreparable damage to several historic factories.

Today, only two factories remain in production. The Tuqan factory is the oldest survivor of this once-prominent industry, and while business is no longer what is used to be, the factory continues to utilise traditional production methods to keep the industry alive.


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