December 26, 2013

0917 PALESTINE (Nablus) - Nabulsi soap


Located in a strategic position between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, in the northern West Bank, at 49km north of Jerusalem, Nablus is a city with a history of over two millennia that entered in 1995 under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian National Authority, become in 2012 the State of Palestine.Founded by Romans in 72 BC, the city knew in the 5th and 6th centuries a conflict between the Christians and Samaritans, which climaxed in a series of Samaritan revolts against Byzantine rule. In 636 it came under the rule of the Islamic Arab Caliphate of Umar ibn al-Khattab, and in 1099 the Crusaders took control of the city, leaving its mixed Muslim, Christian and Samaritan population undisturbed. Conquered by Saladin in 1187, then by the Mamluk in 1260, it was incorporated in Ottoman Empire in 1517. After the loss of the city to British forces during WWI, Nablus was incorporated into the British Mandate of Palestine in 1922, and later designated to form part of the Arab state of Palestine under the 1947 UN partition plan. During the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, the city was captured and occupied by Transjordan, which subsequently unilaterally annexed it, until its occupation by Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War.

The city is known for its kanafeh, a popular sweet throughout the Middle East, but mainly for Nabulsi soap (or sabon nabulsi), a type of castile soap produced only here and made of three primary ingredients: virgin olive oil (the main agricultural product of the region), water, and an alkaline sodium compound. The finished product is ivory-colored and has almost no scent. Since the 10th century, Nabulsi soap has enjoyed a reputation for being a fine product. Traditionally made by women for household use, it had become a significant industry by the 14th century. Though the number of soap factories decreased from a peak of thirty in the 19th century to only two today, efforts to preserve this important part of Palestinian and Nabulsi cultural heritage continue. The old Arafat soap factory has been turned into a Cultural Heritage Enrichment Center.

About the stamp
The stamp is part of a series entitled Ramadan Kareem (Holy Ramadan) consisting of four stamps (50, 100, 250, 500 F), printed in Bahrain and issued on August 2011.

References
Nablus - Wikipedia
Nabulsi soap - Wikipedia

sender: Zuhair AlSader (direct swap)
sent from Nablus (West Bank / Palestine), on 27.11.2013

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