Brief information on the trail
Throughout the trail of “the Ottoman legacy in Nablus and surrounding”, tourists will find examples of the rich natural, cultural, architectural and archaeological themes manifest in this area. This trail also shows various historical and traditional human interactions in that area with their relation to the induced environment
This trail embraces a highlight of rich Ottoman architecture and history that is manifested in the old core of the Historic Nablus and surrounding; A sample of the throne villages, which is one of the cultural phenomena found in Palestine and highly connected to the natural environment; A section that connects to the historic Hijaz Railway during the late Ottoman Period; One of the Oldest Olive mills and Religious routs in Beit Leed; Islamic shrines along the route to Tulkarm to visit the Archaeological museum of Tulkarm city .
The trails starts from: Nablus City- Al-Masoudieh Station- Sabastia – Beit Leed- Tulkarm City
The old city of Nablus exhibits an important interchange of human values in the span of time of different civilizations the city passed through “ Canaanite-Roman-Ottoman” which creates the special development of the Architectural buildings” complex”. Nevertheless, The Ottoman era was perhaps the most influential era regarding architecture.
At the city of Nablus, various historical Ottoman landmarks are visible. The clock tower, Turkish bath, schools, Villas, mosques and prisons are models that preserve the Ottoman architectural character. This style of architecture started emerging in the 16th century and continued until the beginning of the British occupation in 1917.
The architecture is characterized by the use of stones, thick walls, arches in doors and windows, and Crusader arches and domes in which the ceiling’s main column has the cross sign
The Turkish influence spans to food, habits and words that entered their language and are still spoken today.
Al- Masoudieh Station and the Hijaz Railway
Al-Masoudieh station is one of the main stations along the Hijaz Railway in Palestine. It is located about 1 km to the west of Sabastia. Connecting the holy sites in the Hijaz to Istanbul via railway was a project that came to light during the reign of the Ottoman Sultan Abdel Hamid II. He sought to demonstrate his strength and power practically by applying the concept of a greater Islamic community to a series of projects within the Ottoman Empire. Al-Masoudieh is located in a nice natural valley that is suitable for picnic and bird watching with visible evidences of the archaeological railway crossing the valley.
Beit Leed is a village to the east of Tulkarem city. During the Roman Period, it was called “Lod”, which means the “the leader’s House”. During the late Ottoman period, Beit Leed was one of the 43 villages of “Bani Sa’eb” tribe of Tulkarem district. Many important archeological features are found in Beit Lid.
A mosque that is dated back to the Mamluk period, in addition to a large number of caves, cisterns and ancient olive presses are all detectable. The old olive mill in Beit Leed is one of the historic mills found in Palestine. It dates back to Roman times and was used during the Ottoman period as well. A historic road connecting the eastern with the western part of Palestine crosses through Beit Leed. The historic road used to be known as the “Sa’abneh Road”. Along the road many shrines and small size mosques were built for travelers needing praying and rest.
The Cultural Landscape of Sabastia
Sabastia has been a witness of important historic incidents from the Iron Age, Hellenistic and Roman period. However, the Mamluk, Ottoman and present town of Sabastia, still preserving the ancient name, is located on the eastern part of the Roman city, indicating an element of cultural continuity.
This village is characterized as one of the throne villages in Palestine. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the central highlands of Palestine (today the West Bank) were divided into twenty-four administrative domains (sheikdoms). These sheikdoms were ruled by sheiks who belonged to rich or “noble” families, and it is where these sheiks and their families resided that is called “Throne Villages” or Qura Karasi. The sheikh, who was endowed with both political and social status, was the tax collector on behalf of the Ottoman government. As a result, sheiks gained tremendous power and wealth, which was reflected in their lifestyles and the architecture of their Throne Villages.
The City of Tulkarem
Tulkarem was founded and settled by the Canaanites in 3000 B.C. After the Muslim conquest of Palestine in the 7th century, it received its current name “Tulkarem” which means “the bountiful mountain”. The Arabic name is derived from the Aramatic words “Toor Karma” meaning, “mount of vineyards”. The modern locality was established by the Mamliks in the 13th century and it became a strategic center in western Palestine.
The Tulkarem Archaeological Museum, which is located in the center of the town, includes numerous artifacts from the Roman period onward. This historic building is itself the museum. It dates back to the Ottoman period, during which time it was used as a post office. It was transformed into a government center during the British mandate.