Opening in 1916, the Aslan Tile Factory has now been operated by five generations of the Aslan family.
The factory is one of the last of its kind producing Shami tiles, which were brought into the Levant during the French colonial era. In 1913, founder Hamdi Jamal Aslan built a workshop in the city of Acre and opened branches in the cities of Haifa, Jaffa and Nablus the same year. All were closed shortly the 1948 war to save the Nablus workshop.
This once popular and mainstream product was in its heyday during the 1930s, but has since seen a decline after cheaper, mass produced tiles became an option in the late 1980’s.
The factory has survived through wars, invasions and the grip of occupation. “This craft is a cultural legacy that one generation passes on the next. I teach my children about the Shami tiles whenever they have some time. I do not want this craft to be forgotten,” Anan Aslan said.