Palestine / Cities and Towns /
City in Palestine, located in the northern part of the West Bank, with about 240,000 inhabitants (2003 estimate). Nablus is situated between the mountains of Gerizim amd Ebal.
The economic base for Nablus is established by the production of olive oil, soap, wine and handicrafts. Nablus is also a trading centre for its region, dealing with produce like grapes, olives, wheat and livestock.
Nablus has biblical references: In the ancient Canaanite city of Shechem (with a location close to modern Nablus), both Abraham and Jacob are supposed to have lived. The Patriarch Joseph is supposed to have been buried here. Some legends tell that at the mountain of Gerizim, Moses was given the 10 commandments, while the mountain of Ebal was used by him to curse those who defied him and the commandments of God.
The main tourist attractions of Nablus are Jacob's Well and the an-Nasir mosque. Mount Gerizim is holy for the Samaritans, and ancient Shechem lies east of the present city.
300 Samaritans live near Nablus, which is about half of their total number.
Genesis, chapter 12
6And Abraham passed through the land unto the place of Shechem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land.
Genesis, chapter 33
18And Jacob came to Shalem, a city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Padanaram; and pitched his tent before the city.
19And he bought a parcel of a field, where he had spread his tent, at the hand of the children of Hamor, Shechem's father, for an hundred pieces of money.
20And he erected there an altar, and called it EleloheIsrael.
Genesis, chapter 34
1And Dinah the daughter of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land.
2And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her, and lay with her, and defiled her.
20th century BCE: First traces of settlement here.
8th century: As the Assyrians conquer parts of Israel, Nablus starts to decline. Later, the Samaritans take over the town.
2nd century: The city is destroyed by the Maccabean ruler, John Hyrcanus.
72 CE: A new city is established by the Roman emperor, Vespasian, near the site of Shechem. The city is named Flavia Neapolis, and could thrive from an abundant water supply from springs. Later the city is renamed Julia Neapolis.
636: Captured by Arab Muslims.
1099: Captured by the Crusaders, who subjugate it, and name it Naples.
1187: Captured by Saladin, and returned to Muslim control.
1927: Heavily destroyed by an earthquake.
1930s: Nablus becomes an important centre for Arab resistance to Jewish immigration to Palestine.
1949: After the First Palestinian War, Nablus becomes a part of Jordan. Nablus develops as a centre for Palestinian military activities against Israel.
1967 June: Comes under Israeli control, following the Six-Day War.
1976: Jewish extremists put up a colony on confiscated Palestinian land.
1995: Comes under Palestinian control, by the takeover of the Palestinian National Authority.