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Nablus 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 civilizations.

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 the city.

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 and others.

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 Nablus district.
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 University.
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 in Palestine.

Health Sector:
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 Nablus.
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.

Nablus Camps:
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 civilization.
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.

Geomorphological Studies
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.

Land Gradient:

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 %20.

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 characteristics.

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 crowded quarters.
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 include:-

Building finishing.
Stony maintenance.
Building reuse laws.
Building 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 originally.
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 workshop.
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 its originality.

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 buildings.

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 old city.

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