Nablus is a historic Kan’anite city back dated to 4500 BC. The city was given a name Shekem which means a high land or Najd. It was believed that the Can’anite Shekem was the new Balata Village located 1500 m distance to the east of Nablus city. The ancient Nablus located in a long open valley between Eibal mountain to the north, and Jerzim to the south. As for new Nablus, it was built on the two mountains and it is 550 m high from sea level.
Nablus was inhibited since the fourth millennium BC. Excavations exposed the massive walls and building foundation of a city known as Shechem, an important place in the middle of the second Millennium BC. In 724 BC it has been ruined by Asyria and after revival in the 3rd and 2nd centuries, it has been finally destroyed by the Hasmonean Hyrcanus in 128 BC.
200 years later the new Roman city was founded next to the ruined settlement. It has been furnished with all public and religious buildings of a roman colonial city: colonnaded, street, aqueducts, temples. Theatre, hippodrome and necropolis on the slopes of mount Gerizim. In the Byzantine period (ad 324 -636) it was still an important place and a seat of a bishop.
In the first half of the 7th century AD the Arabs conquered the region led by Amr Bin El-Ass in fifteen century when Neapolis named as Nablus. Umayyad Abbasids Fatimids and Saljuqs reigned until in 1099 the crusaders entered Nablus and stayed there until Saladin successfully defeated them in 1187 ad remains of these early periods are still to be found in the architecture of the city. Under the reign of the Mamluks (1260-1516AD) the town has also been an important place. Several mosques and other public buildings were built, rebuilt or restored. In 1517 the region came under Ottoman rule. Nablus became the capital of the district in the province of Damascus. Despite of its ever changing history and the continuing power struggles, the city consolidated within its boundaries impressive buildings were erected and gave the city and the historic old city its final architectural shape.
After the First World War in 1922, the city and entire Palestine become under the British mandate. The first major expansion of the city took place after the heavy earthquake in 1927. The railway station and the west-east transit road north of the Ottoman settlement determined the expansion of the city and the position of the modern city center.
After 1948 war “Nakba” the west and east banks were unified and under the name Jordan, therefore Palestine was under the Jordanian rule. The immigration from the lost areas resulted in a rapid increase in the population of Nablus, from CA. 25.000 in 1948 to 61000 in 1967. The city expanded dramatically even though three refugee camps, Balata Askar and Ein Bayt Elma, were erected well outside the city. A new business district was built to the north of the old historic city, based on a grid pattern.
With the beginning of the peace process and the signing of Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestinians in 1993, the Palestinian institutions were established and the city witnessed vigorous political and cultural progress with a number of initiatives that helped solving population rapid growth of 172,505 including refugee camps in 1995.