Mount Gerizim and Samaritans
One of the oldest cities in the world, Nablus dates back 9,000 years. The original name of Nablus “Shechem” was given by the Canaanites 6,000 years ago. Later the city was renamed “Neapolis” by the Roman Emperor Titus. Today, Nablus is the largest city in the West Bank and has a rich and long history. It has many significant sites for the three monotheistic faiths, as well as for the Samaritans, whose religion is based on the Torah. The tour includes:
- Visit to the Old City of Nablus, including olive oil and soap factories
- Meeting with the Samaritan community at the top of Mount Gerizim
- Visit to Tel Balata, where Abraham first arrived in the Holy Land city of Shechem
- Jacob’s Well, where Jesus met the Samaritan woman
- Visit to Balata refugee camp
The Samaritans are the smallest and oldest ethno religious group in the world. They believe they are the remnant of an ancient people, descended from the ancient kingdom of Israel, who never lost their unique status and image as a people. They have their own language, traditions, holidays, and faith. Religiously, Samaritanism is closely related to Judaism. Based on the Samaritan Torah, Samaritans claim their worship is the true religion of the ancient Israelites prior to the Babylonian Exile, preserved by those who remained in the Holy Land, as opposed to Judaism, which they assert is a related but altered and amended religion brought back by the exiled returnees. for more info, click here.
Tell Balata (Shechem)
Tell Balata is the ancient Canaanite city of Shechem, whose ruins from the Middle Bronze Age and later periods are to be seen today. This tell occupied a crucial position. Of the three link roads between the international highways, the middle road goes through the narrow pass separating the mountains Ebal and Gerizim. On the eastern end of this pass sat Shechem. For anyone journeying in the mountain country, it also guarded the only really viable roads from north and south.
When Abram entered the land, his first destination was “the site of Shechem, to the oak of Moreh.”
Old City of Nablus
Highlights of the old city: Souk, Grand Mosque “jami’ al-Kabir,” An-Nasr Mosque, Turkish Bath, Al-Nimer Palace, Khan al-Wakala, soap factory, al-Khadra Mosque.
All visitors to the mosques should observe modest dress codes. For women, covering their arms, legs, and chests, as well as covering their hair completely with a scarf is required. Men should avoid wearing shorts and both men and women should remove their shoes at the entrance. The women’s prayer area is on the second floor. It’s best to avoid visiting the mosque on Fridays or directly after the prayer call, when it’s at its busiest.
Jacob’s Well is one of the authentic Christian sites, as its identity with what is told in the New Testament is not subject to doubt. There are a number of reasons for this certainty, but the basic one is that wells do not move, and this is the only well in the region. Indeed, it is strange to find a well here, since there are many springs–more than 20– in the pass between Ebal and Gerizim. With so many springs, why would anyone go to the trouble of digging a vertical shaft 137 feet into the earth? Yet someone did, for here it is.
A holy site where the Samaritan woman met Jesus and told her about the water of life, where Abraham settled with his brother Lot and his sons, and where Abraham asked Lot to divide the land between them.
Balata Refugee Camp
The largest refugee camp in the West Bank, housing 27,000 residents in an area of one square kilometer, it was established East of Nablus in 1950 due to the Palestinian Nakba in 1948. We will meet with the PR Director at Yaffa Center and learn about the refugees’ cause and daily life in the camp.
To sign up, please contact Hijazi by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at +972 599 523 844.