The trail of the Galaxy of historical Nablus offers an overview of the rich cultural and historical diversity of the northern West Bank. Along this trail, tourists will find historical examples of the relationship between humans and nature. These attractions include a sampling of a prehistoric site of Tel Balata, s ites that are important factors to the three monastic religions such as Jacob’s well. The Samaritan community on Mount Gerizim that displays a remarkable continuity of a living cultural tradition in the Palestinian society expressed in a religious life-way which, it believes, has been pursued for some three and half thousand years since its first arrival on Mount Gerizim.
The trail : Jacob’s well – Tel Balata – Mount Gerizim- The Samaritans on Mount Gerizim- Nablus City- Al Casabah – The old city of Nablus .
Jacob’s Well, where Jesus asked a Samaritan woman for a drink and offered her “living water”, lies in the crypt of a modern Greek Orthodox church at Nablus in the West Bank.
It is often considered the most authentic site in the Holy Land — since no one can move a well that was originally more than 40 metres deep.
Jewish, Samaritan, Christian and Muslim traditions all associate the well with Jacob.
Tell Balata archaeological site, contains the remains of a Middle Bronze Age city with a massive city wall, two impressive gates, a fortress temple and domestic houses. The city dates back to the second millennium BC (c.1700-1200). There are also other phases of habitation however, even from the Chalcolithic period (4000-3500 BC).
There are ancient Egyptian and biblical (ancient Shechem) references to the site, indicating it as an important cultural and trade centre, due to its strategic location at the eastern end of a pass between Mt. Gerizim and Mt. Ebal.
Mount Gerizim is a holy and historic site, located on the south side of historic Shechem (today’s Arabic city of Nablus). The Samaritan ruins include a temple precinct and city built during the Persian and Hellenistic periods, which was destroyed by the Hasmoneans. The Byzantine ruins include a church and monastery built in two phases on top of the Samaritan ruins.Both of Mt Gerizim and Ebal witnessed the mass ceremony held by Joshua after his entry to Canaan, following the return of the Israelites from the Exodus in Egypt.
The Samaritans on Mount Gerizim
The Samaritans on Mount Gerizim represent the smallest, most ancient, living ethnic community in the world, bound together by a profound and rigid religious belief. Central to it is the sanctity of a particular mountain as decreed by Moses and on which, nearly four thousand years ago, Abraham may have nearly sacrificed Isaac.
The Samaritans believe that, since more than 3600 years ago, they came to live on Mount Gerizim because Moses, in his tenth commandment, ordered them to protect it as a sacred mountain and worship on it by making pilgrimages to it three times a year. These beliefs and traditions have been kept alive by Samaritans since then. This sanctity and longevity, through to the present day, make this sacred mountain a place of outstanding universal value going far beyond the beliefs of a few hundred people.
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 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.
The special importance of the Old Town of Nablus results from its being a historic town consisting of special buildings built in traditional architectural style and construction methods that are no longer in use, together with a unique urban pattern, which is a well preserved.
The regular street grid dating from Roman times is still discernible in the structure of the city. In some places excavations have revealed portion of Roman buildings, in some places these are still visible.
Al Casabah – The old city of Nablus
Most religious and civic buildings here dated back to the Ottoman period, but one can fine earlier architectural elements from the Mameluke. Crusader, Byzantine, and Roman Period hidden from visitor’s eye in the later construction. Roman cornices, beautifully- designed Mameluke edifices with their characteristic geometric decoration around the doorways. The Old City is moreover a treasure of cultural manifestations such as The traditional soup factories, the Turkish baths and the traditional sweet Knafeh.