© Elias Anastas
The seductive City

Nablus captivates its visitors by its rich history, location, and hospitality. It is set between two mountains and it reflects the mysterious secrets that always come with a thousand-year old history, one that is Canaanite, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman. It was also under the British Mandate between 1917 and 1948, and has been occupied by Israel since 1967. The Canaanites named it Skhem, meaning “high”, when they established it around 3600 BC. “Nablus” is derived from Neopolis or “the new city”, given by Vespasian around 67 BC when he ordered the reconstruction of the city upon its ancient ruins. Explorer Ibn Battuta named it Little Damascus.

It is famous for its olive soap and other traditional crafts from olive trees that cover its green suburbs and add a special flavour to its nature, in addition to stone cutting and other industries that make it the economical capital of Palestine. Palestinians and Arabs in general also see Nablus as the best place to eat Knaffeh and other kinds of eastern delights, such as the famous pistachio-stuffed Baqlavah. The Nablusians tease and flirt with their desserts as if they were their brides, naming a dessert “lady’s cheeks”, another “lady’s ankles”, and a little one stuffed with cream and saturated with syrup, “lady’s lips”!

Seducing visitors with its merchandise and important sites are not the only reasons people are attracted to this city, many scholars kept a habit of knowing the city’s cultural heritage, rich with literary, intellectual and scientific works. In addition to many others, Ibrahim Touqan, Fadwa Touqan, Akram Z’eter, and Ehssan Nimmer are Nablus’s most widely known poets, authors, and historians.