Crafts and Trade

Naseer Arafat

in The Bazaar in the Islamic City

Published by American University in Cairo Press

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9789774165290
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9781617971334 | DOI:
Crafts and Trade

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This chapter explores the role of regional commerce in the formation of markets that are rarely studied in contemporary literature. The old markets of Nablus were prosperous in foreign trade because of the location of the city, which was on the crossroads of the commercial roads traversed by trade caravans. In the 18th and 19th centuries, trade in Nablus was described as reaching far-flung places, such as Egypt, Syria, Arabia, and Mount Lebanon. In addition to the strength of industrial activity and agricultural surplus, soap manufacture in Nablus greatly contributed to the development of local commercial activity and trade among Middle Eastern cities. The export of soap was in turn complemented by the import of supplies and goods from the regions to which that export was directed. The author examines the organization of semi-specialized markets of Nablus in their historical context and explains how the strict organizational scheme adopted in the markets provided the basic needs of each industry.

Keywords: Regional commerce in ancient Middle East; soap manufacturing; ancient Neapolis; textiles; caravanserai; Ka'bah cover; crafts workshops and guilds

Chapter.  8352 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Society and Culture

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