The city of Shechem or Nablus dates back some 4000 years. It was in Shechem, that Abram "built an altar to the Lord who had appeared to him ... and had given that land to his descendants" (Gen 12:6-7). Shechem first appears in in Genesis 12:6–8, which records how Abraham reached the "great tree of Moreh" at Shechem and offered sacrifice nearby. Later Joseph's bones were brought out of Egypt and reburied at Shechem. Owing to its central position and the presence of holy places like Jacob's Well (Genesis 33:18-19; 34:2, etc.) and the tomb of Joseph (Joshua 24:32), the city was destined to play an important part in the history of Israel.
Owing to its central position and the presence of holy places ..., the city was destined to play an important part in the history of Israel.During the Roman conquest of Samaria, Shechem was destroyed and a Neapolis or "new city" was built in its stead. Eventually, this name was corrupted to the Arabic Nablus.
Shechem was the main settlement of the Samaritans, whose religious center stood on Mount Gerizim, just outside of the town. Since the Islamic conquest in 636, the city of Nablus has remained overwhelmingly Muslim. Today Shechem is under Palestinian control.
Photo: Shechem (Nablus)