The Uncrowned Queen of Palestine
Nablus is one of the oldest cities in the world, possibly established 9,000 years ago. It was called "Shechem" by the Canaanites, after the 12 tribes of Israel split into two kingdoms. Shechem was briefly the capital of the 10 tribes that were lost to history. The Romans destroyed Shechem and built a new city (Flavia Neapolis, in honor of Flavius Vespasian) a short distance from Shechem. The name Nablus comes from Neapolis. The old city of Nablus is on the site of Neapolis. The city has grown to include the site of Shechem as well.
Today Nablus is a Palestinian commercial and cultural center containing the An-Najah National University, one of the largest Palestinian institutions of higher learning, and the Palestinian stock-exchange.
The Refugee Camps
Around 5 million Palestinians are classified as refugees. In 1948 thousands of Palestinian refugees fleeing from areas captured by Israel arrived in Nablus, settling in refugee camps in and around the city. The camps have existed since that time and tents have been replaced by concrete structures and multi-level housing. Overcrowding and unemployment are among the most serious issues.
The IDF continues to raid the camps to arrest people based on the policy of terrorist by suspicion.
Considered perhaps the most authentic site, the well is not specifically mentioned in the Old Testament; according to Genesis, Jacob came to the Canaanite city of Shechem and stayed (the ruins of nearby Tell Balata are thought to be of Shechem). Almost a thousand years later Jesus came to Jacobs well and asked for a drink from a Samaritan woman, told her that he was the messiah and offered her “living water”. The Church first established in 384, was destroyed and reconstructed several times. The present church destroyed in a 1927 earthquake was completed in 2007.
Find out more about visiting Nablus
Boulder Nablus Sister City Project organizes annual tours to Palestine. https://bouldernablus.org