Soapmaking in Palestine’s West Bank

WATCH

Nabulsi soap is a traditional soap that has been made in the same way for centuries in the old quarter of Nablus, Palestine.

Made from olive oil, water, and an alkaline compound, it's considered one of the finest soaps in the world. Reaching a manufacturable scale in the 14th century, Nabulsi soap was at the time traded all over the world (even Queen Elizabeth of England was purportedly a fan). By 1907 the factories were producing over 5,000 pounds of soap annually, but this would soon taper off due to natural and man-made disasters, and destruction in the region.

Only a few traditional factories still exist.