What to See in Nablus “The Little Damascus” In order to help those who wish to travel to Nablus, here we will list our recommendations of important and historical attractions for foreign tourists to visit.
Nablus is located in the northern West Bank, 30 miles (49km) to the north of Jerusalem. Nablus’ location is very important because it has connected trade routes throughout history.
The city is inhabited by more than 126,000 people, while the city and its 56 surrounding villages reach a population of about 321,000 (2007 estimates). The name of the city comes from the Roman Emperor Vespasian who founded it in 72 BCE as Flavia Neapolis. Nablus is the third oldest city in the world.
What Can You See in Nablus?
The Old City in Nablus has important sites going back to the 1st to 15th centuries and includes six major quarters: Yasmina, Gharb, Qaryun, Aqaba, Qaysariyya, and Habala, each containing important historical sites.
There are six hamaams (Turkish baths) in Nablus. One of these, the al-Shifa Hamaam, was built in 1624, and another, the al-Hana Hamaam, located in Yasmina quarter, was built in the 19th century. Here you can take a Turkish style bath and take advantage of the steam rooms, hot baths, and massages.
Mount Gerizim, located to the south of the city, is the highest peak in Palestine, rising to 881 meters above the sea level. On the top of this mountain, approximately a community of approximately 7,122 Samaritans live.
The Samaritans following the teachings of the Prophet Moses and adhere only to the first five books of the Old Testament. Samaritans still maintain the character, heritage, and traditions of their ancient religion. Members of the community learn the ancient Hebrew language and the religion from priests and elders. Samaritans direct their prayers toward Mount Gerizim, just as Jews direct their prayers toward Jerusalem, and Muslims toward Mecca.
In this bakery, visitors can taste the best kenafeh in Nablus. If you do not know what kenafeh is, it is kind of sweet that consists of a pastry made of vermicelli in the form of long filaments adding to it margarine and kater (sugar, water, and additional ingredients boiled together). This shop is considered part of the city’s heritage of serving hot kenafa going back hundreds of years.
Khan al-Tujjar is located in the Old City of Nablus and represents the central market center of the city. This ancient market was built in the sixteenth century by the Turkish General Lala Mustafa Pasha and was the center for the fabric trade in Nablus. Mary Rogers, the sister of the British consul in Haifa during the late 1850s, described this market as, “the most exquisite fabrics market in Palestine.”
The Hanbali Mosque is a historic mosque in Nablus, located in the center of the Old City and built during the reign of the Ottoman Empire by Sultan Suleiman. This site considered very important due to the presence of a closet that contains three hairs of the Prophet Muhammad which had been brought from Constantinople.
Mount Ebal is a mountain overlooking Nablus, just north of city, and is known as the “Northern Mountain.” This mountain is one of the highest peaks in Palestine and stretches from Nazareth to the outskirts of Jerusalem.
Mount Ebal rises around 950 meters above sea level. From the top, it is possible to see Lebanon, al-Salt, and the Caramel Mountains, as well as the Jordan Valley and the western coast of the Mediterranean Sea.
Jacob’s Well, or the Samaritan Well, is located in the Balata area on the outskirts of Nablus. It is believed that Jesus drank from this well as he passed through Samaria on his way from Jerusalem to Galilee.
Wadi Bathan is a natural area located 5 km to the northeast of Nablus on the road leading to the Jordan Valley.
This region is characterized by abundant springs and diverse wildlife. The area is considered one of the most beautiful natural areas in Palestine and a nature reserve has been established there to preserve the wildlife. There are many types of birds such as the Syrian Woodpecker and the Falcon Goldfinch residing in Wad Bathan.
The Tiger Palace is a huge Palace built in Nablus in the seventh century. The Palace is located in the northeast of the Habla neighborhood and was built by Abdullah Pasha Tiger who was the leader of the Turkish troops sent to quell domestic strife in Palestine.
Abdullah Pasha was the governor of Nablus and the founder of a local family who ruled Nablus for several generations. Tiger Palace was the base for their rule in the city.