About Nablus - Book | Pictures of Palestine

Search
Go to content

Main menu:

About Nablus

Pictures

About Nablus

Nablus was founded as Neapolis in Roman times (meaning 'new city') just west of an ancient Samaritan village gaggled around the ancient Jacob's Well. It is located in a deep valley between two ancient holy mountains, Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal. The town is long and thin, following the east-west valley-bottom and climbing up its sides. It has a population of 130,000.

Today’s city is less prosperous than Ramallah and Bethlehem, not least because it is frequently blockaded and roadblocked by Israel. Religious Israelis claim it as their ancient Jewish birthright, yet there is actually no evidence of early Jewish settlement there – if anything it is historically more important to Christians, though few Christians now live there. Jews and Samaritans were quite numerous here a thousand years ago though, in the early Muslim period in the Middle East.

Nablus is quite unpretentious and it receives few foreign visitors. Yet its valley location, with buildings clinging to the edge of the mountains, makes it rather special, a city to remember and pleasantly unmodernised. One nice aspect of it is that foreigners are treated as objects of friendly surprise rather than as walking ATMs and buying-machines.

Nablus is in a valley between two holy mountains.
It's an unpretentious, gritty kind of city with a lively atmosphere.
The city goes east-west along the bottom of the valley, and climbing up its sides.

Nablus is located in a valley between
two holy mountains,
Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal

It's an unpretentious, gritty kind of city
with a lively atmosphere.
The city goes east-west along the bottom
of the valley, climbing up its sides.

It was a centre of the resistance in the intifada...

It's quite an ancient city,
founded as the Roman city of Neapolis
(Naples in Italy also bore this name).

...and it's still harassed by settlers today, claiming it as the ancient biblical Shechem.

It was a centre for the resistance
in the intifadas of 1988 and 2000,
and it's still harassed by settlers,
who claim it is the ancient biblical Shechem.

It's quite an ancient city, founded as the Roman city of Neapolis.

Nablus Old Town has a lot of
old Ottoman architecture.

 
 
Nablus Old Town has a lot of Ottoman architecture.
 
 
 
The people here are friendly, genuine and spirited.
 

The people here are friendly,
genuine and spirited.

 
 
 
 

Some Jews claim Nablus as the site
of the ancient biblical city of Shechem. Two sites, Joseph’s Tomb and Jacob’s Well, crop up periodically in the news when army-backed settlers enter, officially to make prayers.


There’s a provocative aspect to it, including desecration of mosques.
Perhaps this is retaliatory, since Nablus was a centre for militant activity in
the second intifada, when 522 residents were killed and 3,000 injured.
In the local elections in 2005,
13 of 15 representatives were
from Hamas, the Islamist party.


There’s a lovely Ottoman old city in
the centre of town. They were big developers, the Ottomans, whose
300 year rule ended during
WW1.


Ottoman townscapes are human-size,
built for pedestrians. They have lovely arches, domes, courtyards, alleyways,
buildings, nooks and crannies.

Cauliflower, anyone?
Come to Nablus sometime!

Cauliflower, anyone? Come to Nablus sometime.
 

© Copyright Palden Jenkins 2011. All text and photographs on this website are copyright Palden Jenkins.
You may not use these pictures in print or on websites without permission of the author.
The book's website is at www.palden.co.uk/pop

 
Back to content | Back to main menu