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Place to Visit


Situated 63 km north of Jerusalem between the mountains of Gerzim and Ebal, Nablus was founded in 72 AD by the Roman Emperor Tetus 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.

Today, Nablus is considered the major commercial, industrial and agricultural center in the northern West Bank.

Olive oil soap, produced from olive oil and caustic soda, is a Nablus specialty with some of the city's soap factories operating for more than 250 years. Nablus is also renowned for its crafty goldsmiths and its Kenafa, a tasty oriental pastry.

• Old Town of Nablus • Jacob's Well
• Tell Balata • Sabastia (Samaria)
• Burqin Church • Mt. Gerzim
• Joseph's Tomb • Zababdeh
• Khirbet Belame • Tell Dothan

Old Town of Nablus

This remarkable old town in the city center is a bustling market, or Souq, with impressive mosques, Turkish baths, and traditional soap factories. Its architecture rivals that of Jerusalem. The Great Mosque, al-Kabir, is on the eastern edge of the Old Town of Nablus. West of the Great Mosque lies al- Shifa Turkish bath. Built around 1840, it is the oldest operating Turkish bath in Palestine. 

• Jacob's Well

Located 1.6km south of Nablus, Jacob's Well is where Jesus met the Samaritan woman who offered Him a drink of water. Jacob dug the well for himself, his children, and his flock on a plot of land he bought upon his return from Mesopotamia. The Crusaders restored it over the well. Today, it stands within the walled complex of the Greek Orthodox Monastery.

• Tell Balata

Located 3km east of Nablus, Tell Balata, or Shechem, was one of the earliest and most powerful Canaanite cities. Destroyed and rebuilt several times, the ruins of this ancient city occupy a hill rising 525m above sea level. A fortress temple on the summit of the hill is the largest and most impressive surviving Canaanite temple in Palestine. Other visible ruins include two monumental gates, massive city walls, and a governor's palace with a small private temple, guardrooms, an assembly, living quarters, and a kitchen.

• Sabastia (Samaria)

The ancient royal city of Sebastia, or Samaria, is one of the largest archeological sites in Palestine. Located 12km northwest of Nablus, the ruins of ancient Sebastia extend on a hill overlooking the present village of Sebastia. Excavations at Sebastia indicate that it was first inhabited during the Chalcolithic period in 4000 BC. It did not gain political importance, however, until King Omri built his royal city there and named it Samaria. The visible remains at ancient Sebastia include Roman tombs, a Hellenistic tower, a Severan basilica, and Herodian gate towers at the entrance of a colonnaded street with 600 columns on both sides. According to religious tradition, the head of John the Baptist was found in Sebastia and a Crusader church, later converted to a mosque, was built in his honor.

• Burqin Church

Located 3km west of Jenin, the village of Burqin contains the ruins of a Byzantine church and the cave where lepers who were healed by Jesus once lived. The church has been restored several times and is still being used by the village's Christian Greek Orthodox community. It is composed of the leper cave and an 18th century hall and nave. Tradition suggests that on His way to Jerusalem, Jesus passed by the village and miraculously healed the lepers.

• Mt. Gerzim  

Standing at 881m above sea level, Mt. Gerzim offers a magnificent panoramic view of Nablus and the surrounding area. Ancient ruins at the summit include an octagonal church built by Zeno in the fifth century, and the remains of a mosque and a castle dating back to the time of Salah ad-Din. A small Samaritan community, inhabiting the plateau below the summit for the past 2500 years, holds Mt. Gerzim as sacred. Believing that Mt. Gerzim fitted Abraham's description better than Mt. Moriah, the Samaritans built a rival temple to the one in Jerusalem. Though the temple has long been destroyed, the Samaritans still point out a rock that they believe is the place where Abraham prepared to sacrifice Isaac

• Joseph's Tomb

A little to the north of Jacob's Well is the traditional site of Joseph's tomb, an Ottoman building with a white dome marks the site

• Zababdeh

Located 6km south of Burqin, Zababdeh is built over the site of a Byzantine village. A beautiful mosaic of a sixth century church can be found at the convent of the Rosary Sisters, as well as a Roman building, known as boubariya.

• Khirbet Belame

Khirbet Belame is located at the southern entrance of Jenin and is the site of the Canaanite city of Ibleam whose residents resisted the tribe of Manasseh. The tunnel was apparently cut during the late Bronze Age-Early Iron Age and was reused during the Roman Byzantine period. The entrance of the tunnel has a large Roman vault, probably rebuilt during the Crusader period. At its entrance, a large cistern was found that might be identified with Bir-es-Sinjib/Sinjil, a derivative of the Crusader name St. Job. The second part of the tunnel shows evidence of reuse from the medieval period, while the end part yielded mainly Early Roman pottery. A large number of lamps were found, mostly in the second part of the tunnel.

• Tell Dothan

The impressive site of Tell Dothan lies in a fertile plain west of Jenin. Once a flourishing Canaanite city, Tell Dothan, according to tradition, is where Joseph was sold by his brothers to some Ishmaelite traders who took him to Egypt.

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