Nablus

Nablus in Wikipedia

Nablus (sometimes Nābulus; Arabic: نابلس‎ [næːblʊs] ( listen); Hebrew: שכם‎ Šəḵem; Biblical Shechem) is a Palestinian city in the northern West Bank, approximately 63 kilometers (39 mi) north of Jerusalem, with a population of 126,132.[1] Located in a strategic position between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, it is the capital of the Nablus Governorate and a Palestinian commercial and cultural center. Founded by the Roman Emperor Vespasian in 72 CE as Flavia Neapolis, Nablus has been ruled by many empires over the course of its almost 2,000-year-long history. In the 5th and 6th centuries, conflict between the city's Christian and Samaritan inhabitants climaxed in a series of Samaritan revolts against Byzantine rule, before their violent quelling in 529 CE drastically dwindled that community's numbers in the city. In 636, Neapolis, along with most of Palestine, came under the rule of the Islamic Arab Caliphate of Umar ibn al-Khattab; its name Arabicized to Nablus. In 1099, the Crusaders took control of the city for less than a century, leaving its mixed Muslim, Christian and Samaritan population relatively undisturbed. After Saladin's Ayyubid forces took control of the interior of Palestine in 1187, Islamic rule was reestablished, and continued under the Mamluk and Ottoman empires to follow. Following its incorporation into the Ottoman empire in 1517, Nablus was designated capital of the Jabal Nablus ("Mount Nablus") district. In 1657, after a series of upheavals, a number of Arab clans from the northern and eastern Levant were dispatched to the city to reassert Ottoman authority, and loyalty from amongst these clans staved off challenges to the empire's authority by rival regional leaders, like Dhaher al-Omar in the 18th century, and Muhammad Ali-who briefly ruled Nablus-in the 19th century. When Ottoman rule was firmly reestablished in 1841, Nablus prospered as a center of trade. After the loss of the city to British forces during World War I, Nablus was incorporated into the British Mandate of Palestine in 1922, and later designated to form part of the Arab state of Palestine under the 1947 UN partition plan. The end of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War saw the city instead fall to Jordan, to which it was unilaterally annexed, until its occupation by Israel during the 1967 Six Day War. Today, the city's population is predominantly Muslim, with small Christian and Samaritan minorities. Since 1995, day-to-day administration is the purview of the Palestinian National Authority, though Israel retains control over entrances and exits to the city. There are three Palestinian refugee camps located around Nablus, established in 1949–50. In the Old City, there are a number of sites of archaeological significance, spanning the 1st to 15th centuries. Regionally famous for its native sweet kanafeh and traditionally well-known for its soap industry, Nablus' main economic sectors are in industry and commerce. History Antiquity -- Flavia Neapolis ("new city of the emperor Flavius") was founded in 72 CE by the Roman emperor Vespasian over an older Samaritan village, Mabartha ("the passage").[3] Located between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, the new city lay 2 kilometers (1 mi) west of the Biblical city of Shechem which was destroyed by the Romans that same year during the First Jewish-Roman War.[4][5] Holy places at the site of the city's founding include Joseph's Tomb and Jacob's Well. Due to the city's strategic geographic position and the abundance of water from nearby springs, Neapolis prospered, accumulating extensive territory, including the former Judean toparchy of Acraba.[4] Insofar as the hilly topography of the site would allow, the city was built on a Roman grid plan and settled with veterans who fought in the victorious legions and other foreign colonists.[3] In the 2nd century CE, Emperor Hadrian built a grand theater in Neapolis that could seat up to 7,000 people.[6] Coins found in Nablus dating to this period depict Roman military emblems and gods and goddesses of the Greek pantheon such as Zeus, Artemis, Serapis, and Asklepios.[3] Neapolis was entirely pagan at this time.[3] Justin Martyr who was born in the city c. 100 CE, came into contact with Platonism, but not with Christians there.[3] The city flourished until the civil war between Septimius Severus and Pescennius Niger in 198–9 CE. Having sided with Niger, who was defeated, the city was temporarily stripped of its legal privileges by Severus, who designated these to Sebastia instead.[3] In 244 CE, Philip the Arab transformed Flavius Neapolis into a Roman colony named Julia Neapolis. It retained this status until the rule of Trebonianus Gallus in 251 CE. The Encyclopaedia Judaica speculates that Christianity was dominant in the 2nd or 3rd century, with some sources positing a later date of 480 CE.[7] It is known for certain that a bishop from Nablus participated in the Council of Nicaea in 325 CE.[8] The presence of Samaritans in the city is attested to in literary and epigraphic evidence dating to the 4th century CE.[8] As yet, there is no evidence attesting to a Jewish presence in ancient Neapolis.[8]

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