Nāblus, West Bank

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Nāblus, West Bank

Region: West Bank

Geographic Coordinates: 32.222200, 35.261100
Temperature Range: 10.0°C to 30.0°C (50°F to 86°F)
Climate: Varied.
Population: 156906
Language: Arabic

Nāblus, Also known as Shechem, Is a city located in the northern region of the West Bank. It is considered one of the oldest cities in the world with a history dating back over 4, 000 years. The city has been home to various civilizations throughout its history including Canaanites, Israelites, Romans and Ottomans. Nāblus is known for its vibrant marketplaces and traditional crafts such as soap-making and weaving. The Old City of Nāblus is particularly famous for its bustling souq (market) which sells everything from fresh produce to clothing and jewelry.

Visitors can explore narrow alleyways lined with shops selling spices and sweets or visit historic sites such as the Hammam al-Shifa (healing bathhouse) built during Ottoman rule. One of Nāblus’ most iconic landmarks is Mount Gerizim which holds religious significance for Samaritans who believe it to be their holiest site where Abraham was commanded to sacrifice his son Isaac. Visitors can climb up to the top of Mount Gerizim for panoramic views over Nāblus and surrounding areas.

Another popular attraction in Nāblus is Jacob’s Well – a deep well believed by Christians to be where Jesus met a Samaritan woman during his travels through Samaria. Located just outside the city center on Route 60 towards Jerusalem visitors can descend down into this ancient well that still provides water today.

For those interested in history and archaeology there are several sites worth visiting around Nāblus including Tell Balata – an archaeological site thought to be ancient Shechem; Sebastia – an important Roman city with ruins dating back thousands of years; and Tel Dothan – an ancient hilltop fortress believed to have been built by King Solomon. Despite being located within Palestinian territories under Israeli occupation since 1967, Nāblus remains a lively cultural hub with a strong sense of community.

Visitors can experience traditional Palestinian hospitality by staying in one of the city’s many guesthouses or enjoying a meal in one of its many restaurants serving up delicious local cuisine. Overall, Nāblus is a fascinating city with a rich history and culture that offers visitors an authentic glimpse into life in the West Bank. From its bustling markets to ancient ruins and religious sites, There is something for everyone to discover in this unique and vibrant city.

Important Landmarks

  1. The Old City of Nāblus is a historic area with narrow streets, markets, and buildings that date back to the Ottoman era.
  2. Jacob’s Well is a sacred site for both Christians and Muslims and is located just outside the city. It is believed that Jesus met the Samaritan woman at this well.
  3. Mount Gerizim overlooks Nāblus and holds significance for both Jews and Samaritans.
  4. Al-Khadra Mosque is an important mosque in Nāblus that was built in the 12th century and features beautiful Islamic architecture.
  5. An-Nasr Mosque, another significant mosque in Nāblus, was constructed in 1318 AD with intricate tilework and calligraphy.
  6. Balata Refugee Camp on the outskirts of Nāblus provides shelter to over 20,000 Palestinian refugees who were displaced during the Arab-Israeli War in 1948.
  7. Olive oil soap made using traditional techniques passed down through generations is one of Nāblus’ most famous exports; soap-making workshops provide visitors with an opportunity to learn more about this craft.
  8. The Samaritan Museum on Mount Gerizim showcases artifacts from one of the world’s oldest religious communities – the Samaritans – who still live near Nabulus today but in small numbers only.
  9. Nabulsi sweets shops are known for their delicious treats made from local ingredients like honey and pistachios; visitors can sample these traditional sweets while exploring old town markets like Khan al-Tujjar (the Merchants’ Market).
  10. The Qalqilya Zoo & Botanical Garden offers visitors a chance to see various species including lions, bears, tigers, monkeys among others; it’s located just a short drive from Nabulus.

Primary Industries

  1. Textile industry: Nāblus is known for its textile industry, which produces a variety of products such as blankets, carpets, and traditional Palestinian clothing.
  2. Food industry: The city is famous for its sweets and pastries such as knafeh and baklava. There are also several olive oil factories in the area.
  3. Construction materials: Nāblus has a significant construction material industry that produces cement, bricks, and tiles.
  4. Retail businesses: The city has a vibrant retail sector with many shops selling clothing, electronics, household goods, and other consumer products.
  5. Services sector: There are several banks, insurance companies, law firms, and accounting firms operating in the city.
  6. Agriculture: The surrounding areas of Nāblus are known for their agricultural production of olives, grapes, figs among others.
  7. Tourism: Although not as developed as other cities in the region due to political instability but there are some historical sites like Jacob’s Well that attract tourists to the area along with local markets showcasing traditional textiles & food items.

Noteable History

  1. Ancient history: Nablus was originally founded as a Canaanite city in the 3rd millennium BCE and was later ruled by various empires including the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans and Byzantines.
  2. Biblical significance: According to the Bible, Nablus is the site of Jacob’s Well where Jesus met a Samaritan woman (John 4:5-42).
  3. Islamic history: In the 7th century CE, Nablus became an important center of Islamic learning and culture under Arab rule.
  4. Crusader occupation: During the Crusades in the 12th century CE, Nablus was occupied by Christian forces for over a century.
  5. Ottoman rule: In 1517 CE, Nablus came under Ottoman control until World War I when it was occupied by British forces.
  6. Palestinian nationalism: During the early 20th century CE, many Palestinian nationalist leaders were from or based in Nablus including Sheikh Izz ad-Din al-Qassam who led an armed resistance against British colonialism.
  7. Modern conflict: Since Israel’s occupation of the West Bank in 1967 during the Six-Day War, there have been numerous clashes between Israeli settlers and Palestinian residents of Nablus.

Notable people associated with Nablus include:

  1. Anwar al-Sadat – Former President of Egypt who studied at An-Najah National University in Nablus.
  2. Ghassan Kanafani – Palestinian writer who lived in exile after being expelled from Israel following its creation.
  3. Fawzi al-Qawuqji – A military leader who fought against Zionist forces during Israel’s War of Independence.
  4. Leila Khaled – A member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine who was involved in several airplane hijackings.
  5. Hanan Ashrawi – A Palestinian legislator, activist and scholar who has been involved in peace negotiations with Israel.

Museums and Things To See

  1. Jacob’s Well is a historic site believed to be the location where Jesus spoke with a Samaritan woman.
  2. An-Nasr Mosque is one of the largest and oldest mosques in Nablus, dating back to the 13th century.
  3. The Old City is a labyrinthine maze of narrow streets and alleys, home to many historic buildings and markets.
  4. The Samaritan Museum is dedicated to the history and culture of the Samaritan community, located on Mount Gerizim.
  5. Al-Quds Open University Museum showcases Palestinian art and culture, located on the campus of Al-Quds Open University.
  6. The Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center hosts exhibitions, concerts, film screenings, and other cultural events.
  7. Balata Refugee Camp is one of the largest refugee camps in Palestine, home to over 30,000 people displaced by conflict.
  8. The National Palace Museum is dedicated to Palestinian history and heritage; it’s located in downtown Nablus.
  9. Hamam al-Shifa (the Healing Bath) is an ancient bathhouse dating back to Ottoman times that’s said to have healing properties for various ailments.
  10. Mount Gerizim is a sacred mountain revered by both Jews and Samaritans as a holy site mentioned in biblical texts.

Parks and Recreation

  1. Al-Shifa Park is a large public park that boasts walking paths, playgrounds, picnic areas, and a small zoo.
  2. An-Najah National University Gardens are open to the public and offer beautiful landscaping, fountains, and walking paths.
  3. Al-Makhfiyya Park is situated on a hill overlooking Nāblus and provides panoramic views of the city. It also has playgrounds for children.
  4. The Old City Market can be found in the heart of Nāblus’ historic Old City and offers traditional Palestinian foods and handicrafts.
  5. Mount Gerizim is considered sacred by Samaritans and has hiking trails with stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
  6. The Samaritan Museum is located on Mount Gerizim and showcases artifacts from the ancient Samaritan community still living in Nāblus today.
  7. The Roman Amphitheatre was built over 2,000 years ago by Romans but still hosts cultural events today.
  8. The Turkish Bathhouse (Hammam al-Shifa) was constructed during Ottoman rule in Palestine; it’s been restored as a cultural center offering traditional music performances & art exhibitions.
  9. The Great Mosque of Nablus is one of Palestine’s oldest mosques; it’s an important religious site with beautiful architecture.
  10. The Soap Museum is dedicated to soap making – one of Nablus’s most famous industries.


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