Places To Visit
combines ancient history and modernism in a fascinating old-new
land. Naturally, because of Nablus place in old nations history
and the overwhelming visual testimony of their civilizations, be
it in architecture, or pottery which is ever to be remembered.
Nablus lies hidden in the mountains which overlook its
surroundings. This simple geographical information was known to
the ancients who found along the protecting mountains an ideal
route for the trade between the Mediterranean countries and the
more distant world. Nablus becomes the cradle of ancient
Nablus is one of the Canaanites cities who came from Arabia to
Palestine in 2500 B.C. Its geographical position on the trade
roads made it an important commercial center for most of the
successive civilizations as Pharaohs, Crusades, Mongols,
Mamlukes, Ottomans and others.
Nablus as a Canaanite city was important in ancient Palestine.
Since then it has a picturesque and a strategical situation for
more than 9000 years. It was mentioned under the name of Nablus
in (Tel Al Amarinah) messages as well as in the reports of
Thutmose III which indicated that the city was built during the
Canaanites Age. It was also mentioned in the Bible as Shechem.
Archaeological excavations, taking place during the First World
War, made it possible to identify many facts about the history
of the city.
Nablus as a part of Palestine, its history cannot be separated
from the history of Palestine, especially the northern part of
Nablus as we have mentioned before, is frequently mentioned
through the articles and essays of many explorers and historians
(both arabs and foreigner) as Al-Yakoubi, Al-Istarkhi, Bin-Houkalo,
Al-Makdessi, Al-Idrissi, the Jerman monk Berkham, As-Sa'h
Sanoodeh, Yakout al-Humewi, Ibn-Batuta, Sheikh Abdel Ghani Al-Nabulsi
Location & Land Use
Nablus district is located in the northern part of the West
Bank. The district is located between 349m below sea level and
918m above sea level. The topography of Nablus district can be
divided into four parts: Jordan Valley, the eastern slopes,
mountain crests and western slopes. The highest point in the
district reaches 918m above sea level at Jabel 'Ibal, while the
lowest elevation is 349m below sea level at the southeast corner
of the district.
Nablus district is located at the northern latitude earth grid
32: 12, it has hot, dry summers and moderate, rainy winters.
There is no great variation in different climatic parameters in
The city lies on the crossroads that connect the whole region
together and facilitate contact among different directions.
Nablus is about 110km. far away from Amman, 42 Km. from the
Mediterranean, 66Km. from Jerusalem and Jenin. It is 550m high
from sea level. Nablus has a moderate climate.
The southwest and northwest winds are the prevailing winds in
this area with an annual average wind speed of 237 Km per hour.
The geographical position of Nablus district in the northern
part of the West Bank gives it a comparatively lower temperature
range. The average maximum temperature reaches 26, and the
average minimum temperature reaches 8c.
Humidity: It reaches its minimum value in May because the high
variation between the maximum and minimum daily temperature.
Nablus can be considered as one of the top cities in education.
It has about 50 Schools that have different levels of education.
Most of them are public, the others are private and national.
There is also Al-Rawda National School besides An-Najah National
We can mention among the famous schools, An-Najah Nabulsi School
established in 1981 which graduated many distinguished
personalities. This school has transformed onto An-Najah
National College. In 1977 it has become the largest university
There are four hospitals in Nablus, two of them were built at
the beginning of the 20th century:
The Anglican Hospital (St. Lukes) built in 1900. The National
Hospital built in 1910 by the charities of the Nablus. The other
two are Rafidia Surgery Hospital and Al-Ittihad Hospital.
Nablus is very famous in sweets industry especially the Nabulsi
Kunafa which has become part of the city's folk even outside
A number of factories have been set up in Nablus such as the
Vegetable Oil Factory-a factor for refining all sorts of
vegetable oil especially olive oil, vegetable butter which is
also known in neighboring countries as Jordan.
There are three large camps just outside the city, which were
built for the Palestinian refugees of 1948. These camps are Ein
Beit el Ma, Balatah and Asquar Al Quadim and Askar Al Jadid
Camps. They have more than 30,000 inhabitants. While Nablus has
160,000 inhabitants, the majority are Muslims, the minority are
Christians and Samaritans.
The old city of Nablus with its narrow lanes, arches, mosques
markets, quarters, paths and all its interesting and beautiful
public places witness its unique history and prosperous
Among the historical monuments we should mention (Al-Tujar Khan)
and (Al-Manara O'clock) built at the beginning of the recent
century, the (Old Saraya Square) which acted as offices for the
Turkish government. Besides the halls and palaces of the most
famous families in the city are Al-Nimr Hall, Abdel-Hadi
Palaces, Tuauan Hall and others.
In order to study the attitudes towards the city development,
we've arranged some physical studies in certain fields: lands,
building development, land ownership, public utilities, land
utilities. We have also surveyed the lands and the partial
projects since the British Mandate.
Describing land gradient according to Land gradient has been
divided into 5 divisions. The average gradient of them is
usually not more than %10.
Nablus Valley has a sufficient gradient (no more than %10). This
Valley extends eastward towards Askar Field with a %10 gradient
rate. The western part of the valley has no more than %30 of
average gradient. But at the Valley's both sides lie parts of 'Ibal
and Gerizim Mountains with a sharp average gradient (more than
%40). While mountains summits have a sufficient gradient about
Nablus has kept the unique Arabic influence as it is seen in its
architecture. After the 1927 earthquake, many of the cities
buildings were damaged and it had to be rebuilt according to the
new design of architecture that lacks most of the pervious
Nablus (the little Damascus) was built as an Arab city on the
ruins of the Roman City destroyed in 1202. Its mosques were the
centers for its activities. As most of them were built in the
However, you look at the city, you will find it fantastic.
If you have a look at it from above, you'll see a well-organized
design of buildings. We'll notice the clusters of the
white-roofed houses with ornament doorways and open courtyards
as if they address the sky above, these houses are located on
the sides of too narrow lanes that provides a landmark to help
orient the visitors.
Houses design isn't haphazard, that is these were built in a
special form according to the movement of the sun and wind. The
courtyards of these houses were used as a meeting center for the
family so they were surrounded by fountains and climbing trees.
But let us visit the city nearer, to have a look at peoples'
real life. First of all, we will efface the mosques with high
minarets and curved domes.
Let us now live for a while within the heart of the old city of
Nablus. During daylights you can enjoy peoples' movement inside
the Market, when all are engaging in their interests to the
extent that all activities interacted together in a social
atmosphere, coffee houses can be another form of the Nabulsi
tradition. The market is the most crowded noisy place, full of
all kinds of goods. The traditional view of the Nabulsi market
not only attracts our senses but also our feelings specially
when we hear the callings of the announcer of the prayers (Mu'zzin)
dominating every other thing.
Nowadays, Nablus Municipality is very interested in the old city
maintenance to keep its architectural features. So it improved
its water network, and it has made a partial development of the
electricity network. Also it began paving the city and treating
sewage problems. For Europeans, old cities maintenance should
Building reuse laws.
Development Program needs special department to be responsible
for application. So the Municipality in cooperation with An-Najah
University began preparing accurate surveys of all historical
buildings Such endeavors reveal an admirable awareness of the
need to these rehabilitation works. And so the Municipality put
the following priorities into considerations:-
Maintenance of the worn out arches.
Repairing the Clock Tower (As-Sa'a Tower).
During the restoration program, the ancient stones of buildings
were carefully dealt with. That is, these stones were cleaned by
wire brushes in order not to destroy its original character.
That site was also repointing, its broken cables were
maintained, its damaged marble stones were replaced, its
balconys' iron were refixed. Also four platforms were fixed to
the Tower roof. The Main Clock and its dial were repaired and
put into action; and the main gate was maintained too. Moreover,
another three arches were repaired and there is a tender for
paving the paths of the old city.
So the problem of maintenance will be comprehensive so as to
include every aspect of the old city. It is worth to mention
that many of the religious buildings as mosques have been
renovated and redecorated according to the highest standards of
the historical design. We can summarize repairs to the old city
in the following steps:
Maintenance of the old city landmarks.
Remove needles constructions.
Keep the original character.
Keep special documents for the old city.
Organize workshops to repair traditional houses.
Divide the old city into quarters.
Prohibit fines due to over population; stop house demolition and
license high buildings.
New streets to connect the old city with the new one.
Traditional houses shouldn't be used for commercial purposes as
factories or store houses.
Repavd old streets with flagstones.
Restore drinking fountains and maintain stony buildings within
the highest standards of traditions.
Register the old city as an international cultural property.
Cooperate with the International organizations as UNESCO, ECOMOS
in order to improve old city.
Keep video records for the old city.
Replace aluminum louvers with timber windows.
Transfer electricity and telephone cables underground; while
illuminating old streets in a special way to reflect its
Restrict vehicular access to main streets of old city.
Improve the ancient markets to be as tourist attractions.
We should mention that the old Khan Al-Tujar (cloth market) was
recently restored, Moreover, it was described by Mari A. Rojer
in 1865 as one of the most beautiful markets in Palestine.
Restore Khan Al-Wakala as a market-place trade center craft
Many of the chief industries of the old city as soup and sweets
are housed in buildings which have barely changed in centuries.
But many of these buildings would benefit from routine
maintenance as painting in order to attract tourists.
Renovating the fine traditional buildings of the old city
enables them to be put to use. Old houses can be made very
desirable homes if provided with modern facilities. These are
stony houses enclosing courtyards planted with fruit trees
around a fountain. So it will be possible to encourage the
family of these houses to return to live in the old city and
this in turn will encourage others to follow. But ruined
buildings which can't be consolidated, can be converted into
parks or public gardens.
Convert some old buildings and bath-houses (there are about six
Turkish bath-houses) to new uses as cafes, restaurants, museums
exhibitions, libraries, reception halls, university hostel and
so on. It is better to restore even one of them to its former
use to enable people to meet and relax.
By time, many of the historical buildings were severely damaged
and so they lacked its original character due to either social
as the human relations which used to connect the whole family in
one large house no longer exist. So many of these traditional
houses were immigrated. Also, economically, people began
preferring to live outside the old city in order to be in
immediate touch with the new economic conditions outside the old
city which in turn encouraged many wealthy tenants to buy
traditional houses and changed them to workshops will destroy
Also the traffic movement inside old city caused a source of
pollution and uproar along with the appearance of the new
buildings that lack historical form which again badly affect the
traditional sense of the old city.
So efforts should be gathered to protect the old city. This can
be done by several ways as protecting its surroundings to be as
a safe path to it.
Historical buildings should be restored in order to put again in
its former use in order to be affective. Else any repair or
renovation will be helpless in reviving such historical site. In
order to restore such historical buildings, architects should
pay special attention to the technical side of restoration. They
should select the materials and technical equipment that don't
affect the original character of the buildings.
Also historical buildings surroundings should be painted and
technically equipped in a suite way to enable it reflect the
originality of the area. We should mention that the most
effective factor in the restoration process is the man power.
Peoples' living standards affect the position of the historical
As the economic aspect is very important in restoring such
buildings to its former use, because restoration needs a great
deal of money for the maintenance of the building itself or for
its preparations as opening special restaurants, inns,
exhibitions etc. Which in turn will widely improve the city
economically. Most of the constructions and buildings under
restorations are situated along the central a road of the old
city which is very effective because this situation enables
vehicles to reach the restored buildings without transcending
beyond. But it will benefit more, if special stations are
established for vehicles so that the vehicles won't enter the