Live always at the edge of poetic possibilty, even in the face of severe prose. - Walter Bruggemann

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Nablus - Part 1

Nablus (Shechem) is a city in the northern part of the West Bank, approximately 39 miles from Jerusalem. It's an old, old city founded in 72 CE by Vespasian. While the history of the city is quite interesting and varied I'm not going to go to much in it here. Biblically, this is the place where Jesus met the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well. Today the population is predominately Muslim however there are Christians and Samaritans still living there. Nablus is under Palestinian civil control with Israel controlling the entrances and exists to the city. This entry on Nablus will be in two parts. Today you'll see the city and cultural aspects. The following entry will be of Balata Refugee Camp. Main city circle
The logo to the Nablus soap factory. Nablus is very famous for its olive oil soap. At one point in time there were over 400 factories but today there are very few left. They are family owned.
A vat of liquid olive oil soap
Pouring the hot soap
Scoring the soap and putting on the logo
Scored soap stacked and ready for packaging
Palestinians have an unusual way of using manniquins
Through the alleys of the old city
See what I mean
These two men wanted so badly to talk with us. It is unusual to see non-Palestinians in Nablus. Their English was much better than my Arabic. We could communicate with laughter.
These two young men wanted very badly to have their picture taken. I obliged. They are standing in front of a memorial.
Every guide has his or her own favorite shops to visit. This was a spice and coffee shop. Arabs are known for their incredible hospitality. We sat down and had arabic coffee before cutting any deals.
Freshly roasted coffee being ground. I bought some to bring if I only had the knack for cooking the coffee.
Umm, smell the aroma
Al Karreoun is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Nablus
We stopped at a functioning Turkish bath. This is the waiting room where we sat and drank coffee. The clients come and relax beforehand and smoke argilla aka water pipes. The tobacco is flavored and delicious
Inside the bath....the women get Tuesday afternoon other than that the rest of the time is for men. Hey-it's the Middle East, what can I say?
One of the bath attendants waiting for business
Attendants smoking argilla
The Samaritan Woman at the Well Icon. This was inside the Greek Orthodox Church built over the well. I do not have a picture of the well because photos were not allowed. We drank from the well, the living water!
The apse of the Church. For an orthodox church it was very modern with a lot of light streaming in.

No comments: