Nablus: The Uncrowned Queen of Palestine
Nablus, approximately 63 kilometers north of Jerusalem, is the second largest city in the West Bank. It is thriving industrial and trade center full of archeological sites and ruins in varying stages of excavation. Visitors have been particularly enthralled with the Roman Theater near the heart of the city. It has a steady stream of visitors throughout the year.
Nablus is known around the world for its exquisite olives, olive oil, and olive-wood products. In the Old City, one can wander for hours through the market. Nablus
is famous for its appetizing sweets. Sampling knafe, made from a delicate combination of melted cheese, shredded grain, and a sugary honey sauce, is a must for any visitor to Nablus.
Another significant site is Jacob’s Well, 2 kilometers east of Nablus by the village of Balata. It’s the site where Jesus s said to have asked a Samaritan woman to draw water from a well for him. Today Jacob’s Well is located in a Greek Orthodox monastery and is open to the public.
Soap in Nablus has been made for years from soda and olive oil. Although the anufacturing methods have changed slightly over the years, soap made in Nablus
is still renowned for its purity and is exported throughout markets in the Middle East.
Several traditional soap factories in Nablus offer tours of their soap-making process. The soap is made from olive oil, so it’s a slippery tour. After the soap tour, you can test your samples at one of the city’s recently restored Turkish baths.
The rooftops of Nablus and surrounding villages, such as Kor, often include a keyzan, which allows a person to look outside without being seen. This distinctive triangular motif is a natural air conditioner because it collects and cools rain water inside its clay vessels.
Old City – Tel Balata – Shechem – Jacoub’s Well – Neopolis – Roman City Ruins – Gerzim – Samaritans – Olive Oil Soap Factories – Hammams – Baths – Caravanserais – Khans – Souqs – Knafeh – Sebastia.
Most sites of interest in Nablus are within walking distance of less than 15 minutes from the bustling city centre at Martyrs’ Square. The Municipal Tourism Office organizes guided tours (open daily 8:00-16:00 except Fridays; offering a two-hour guided tour in French, English, German, or Italian). If the office is closed, contact the Nablus Municipality (Tell: 09-237 9313). The post and telecommunications office is located opposite the Municipality Building on Faysal Street.