History of Nablus, the new city

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Founded by the Romans with the name of Neapolis, Nablus has become over the centuries one of the world centers for the production of oil and cotton

The words of Ibn Battuta

I headed to Nablus, a huge city with many trees and perennial waterways. It is one of the Syrian cities richest in olive trees and the oil obtained from it is exported to Cairo and Damascus. […] […]


Of Nablus we must also remember the delicious melons, which are called nabulusi from its name and finally the Friday mosque, which represents the maximum of beauty and perfection and houses, in the center, a freshwater basin.

“The travels” of Ibn Battuta

Nablus, the Naples of Palestine

Unlike Gaza and Hebron, Nablus was founded in 72 AD. by the Roman emperor Vespasiano, taking the name of Neapolis, or “new city”, to symbolize a new beginning of the local community. The city was erected, in fact, just 2 km from Shechem, an ancient place, historically linked to the Samaritans, which had been destroyed just recently following Jewish revolts; under the Romans the city grew and flourished, sharing with its founders also the cult, pagan first and then Christian.


The contrasts with the present and nourished Samaritan community, however, grew exponentially with the conversion of Rome, so much so that, right at that historical moment, the major massacres between the two peoples can be associated.

From Neapolis to Nablus

With the triumph of Khalid ibn al Walid in the battle of Yarmouk in 636, Neapolis definitively passed under Arab control, who renamed it Nablus, transforming it into one of the major commercial and cosmopolitan centers of the region, attracting Muslims, Samaritans, Persians, to their court. Jews and Christians.


The crusaders then dominated it for 100 years, transforming it into one of their most important possessions, so much so that, even after the reconquest by the Arab hand, it became one of the hottest places in Palestine; it will be only with the arrival of the Mamelukes in 1260 that Nablus will finally find long-term stability, so much so that it dedicates itself to the cultivation. of the olive tree, a specialty of the area Under Ottoman rule, the city grew exponentially as regards the trade and production of soap and cotton, becoming the largest center of the Levant.

War and occupation

At the outbreak of the First World War, Nablus and its surroundings became a focal point of the Sinai and Palestine Campaign, so much so that 3 battles were fought nearby, including that of Megiddo, in which even Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, father was involved of modern Turkey. With the creation of Israel, the city was not involved in the notorious Palestine Partition Plan, however attracting many Palestinian refugees who, on the contrary, because of this plan lost their home and belongings; after the First Arab-Israeli War, Nablus came under Jordanian control, which it remained until the 6-day War


Like all other Palestinian cities, the latter also suffered Zionist military occupation which, in this area, was among the hardest ever; so much so that, right here, in 1985 a 5-day curfew was imposed, the longest ever implemented by the Israeli army. Surrounded by Zionist colonies, Nablus became one of the centers of the Second intifada honoring its nickname Jabal an-Nar, the “fire of the mountain”; also for this reason, in 2002 he became a systematic prey of Israeli military operations, including Operation Defensive Shield and Operation Determined Path, which severely damaged the city (including the Grand Mosque and the Orthodox Church) and inhabitants. Today Nablus is one of the most active places in the region against Zionist forces, if you want to know the city better, read:“Sabun” by Alae al Said.

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