Nablus Travel Guide

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Nablus is one of the most interesting cities under Palestinian control in the north. Situated 63km north of Jerusalem between the mountains of Gerzim and Ebal.  According to archeological excavations, the Biblical town of Shechem is located at the Eastern edge of modern Nablus and is referred to locally as "Tel Balata". Many buildings in the old city of Nablus were built with the stones taken from the ruins of Shechem.

Originally a Canaanite city, Shechem is mentioned in the book of Genesis in the Bible as a place where both Abraham and Jacob built alters.  Shechem is also mentioned in other books of the Bible, including Joshua, Judges, Kings, Psalms, and Chronicles.  Jacob's Well and Joseph's Tomb are/were located in the Eastern part of modern Nablus.  A Roman city was founded near Shechem around 72 AD by the Roman Emperor Titus in honor of his father Flavius Vespasian. It was called Flavia Neapolis, the 'New City', until 636 AD when the Arabs took the town, changing its name to Nablus.   In the 12th century it was taken by the Crusaders, who changed the name to Naples.

Today, Nablus is considered the major commercial and industrial center in the northern West Bank. Olive oil soap, produced from olive oil and caustic soda, is a Nablus specialty, which has been produced for more than 250 years. Nablus is also renowned for its its Kenafa, a tasty oriental pastry.

There are more than 300 Samaritans who live in the city and on Mount Gherizim, and more than 330 in Holom, Israel.  Samaritans continue to make a Passover sacrifice on Mount Gerizim - their holy site - every year, which attracts many visitors and tourists.  They are a small but fascinating community. 

The old city centre is explored best in in on foot. 

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