“I am not a historian, but I am fascinated by the lands surrounding Jerusalem for a couple of reason’s. The main reason being that it is rich with the history of Israel thousands of years before Christ. But Christ’s ministry took Him across much of this land, so it is rich with Christian history also. Now this particular city and Mountain interests me because I’ve read a lot lately about the Palestinian’s and some muslim clerics saying that this land is there’s and there never was a presence of Israel or Christians. But I think it is amazing that they never had a presence until the 6th century AD around the time of Mohammed. So it’s important to study the history of the land. The British mandated it as palestine, but fell to Jordon. Well the rest is history as they say. But these places still fascinate me non-the-less, as my Savior walked these hills, as well as the disciples.”
English: Nablus. Old city of Nablus and Mount Gerizim in background. Nablus, the second largest city in the West Bank after East Jerusalem. (From Wikipedia)
Nablus (Arabic: نابلس Nāblus [næːblʊs] ( listen), Hebrew: שכם Šəḵem, Biblical Shechem ISO 259-3 Škem, Greek: Νeapolis Νεάπολις) is an Israeli city in the northern West Bank, approximately 63 kilometers (39 mi) north of Jerusalem, with a population of 126,132. 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 population is predominantly Muslim, with small Christian and Samaritan minorities. Since 1995, the city has been governed by thePalestinian National Authority. In the Old City, there are a number of sites of archaeological significance, spanning the 1st to 15th centuries. The city is known for its kanafeh, a popular sweet throughout the Middle East, and soap industry.
The Good Samaritan Museum
The museum at the Good Samaritan Inn archeological site by Ma’ale Adumim is the only mosaic museum in the country and one of only three in the world. Mosaics and other artifacts unearthed in Judea, Samaria and Gaza are on display at the museum. Some of the mosaics on display have been removed from various sites to protect them from harm, while others are reconstructions. Work on the mosaics, to prepare them for the public eye, has taken many years during which skilled professionals excavated the mosaics, preserved them and, where necessary, reconstructed them. During the preservation process, some mosaics were cast in natural materials such as lime, sand or cement as they would have been in ancient times.
The Good Samaritan Museum is situated half way between Jerusalem and Jericho, and is associated with the biblical Ma’ale Adumim which marked the border between the tribes of Judah and Benjamin (Joshua 16, 7; 18, 17). During the Byzantine era, the site was associated with the inn mentioned in the Parable of the Good Samaritan from the New Testament (Luke 10, 25-37). Members of three different religions appear in the parable: a Cohen, a Levi and a kind Samaritan. The design of the museum is based on the parable, as is the choice of mosaics.
Mosaics and other findings from Jewish synagogues, Samaritan synagogues and churches, are all on display at the museum. The mosaics are divided into two groups: one set of mosaics is displayed outdoors, while the other is displayed indoors. Among the artifacts is a mosaic from a synagogue in Gaza, now on display for the first time, as well as inscribed mosaics from Jewish synagogues. The inscriptions from the sacred site in Mount Gerizim can be dated back to the 2nd and 3rd centuries B.C. and make use of the adjectives “cohen” and “cohanim” as well as the lord’s name “Jehovah”. These findings indicate the existence of a Samaritan temple during that time. Also on display are partial mosaics from Samaritan synagogues describing the seven species and Torah arks, mosaics from the 4th and 6th centuries A.D. from the church in Shiloh, and more. In addition, other artifacts from the Byzantine era, such as a carved sermon table, a case for holy relics, an ornate baluster and a dining table, can also be seen on display. It is also worthwhile to take the time and appreciate the site itself, which has a history that can be traced back to the Second Temple and contains ancient cave dwellings, wells and a reconstructed Byzantine church.
Sources: Wikipedia and The Good Samaritan Museum
Categories: Human interest