Nablus is a prime film location.
Nablus is an ancient city which is located just 42 kilometers from Tel Aviv. It has many historic remains within the vicinity and also displays interesting, local architecture and an authentic Middle Eastern atmosphere and the best market to film.
Filming in Nablus Biblical Times
The Biblical town in this area was known as Shechem. Close to Nablus, the remains of Shechem’s original defensive wall, Jacob’s Well and Joseph’s Tomb can all be found. The area has rich Biblical connections with Abraham traveling through Shechem on his way to Canaan and it was also the location of his first sacrifice to G-d. After the conquest of Canaan, Joshua assembled the Israelites here and encouraged them to follow the Mosaic laws. The city of Shechem was destroyed by the Assyrians in the 8th century BCE.
Mount Gerizim which overlooks the present-day Nablus and latter-day Shechem, has significance to both Jews and the Samaritans. Today, there are around 300 residents in the Samaritan Quarter, which is situated the west of the mountain. Samaritans continue to make a Passover sacrifice on Mount Gerizim each year. A local synagogue contains Samaritan Torah scrolls which are said to date back to the 13th year of settlement by the Israelites in Canaan.
Filming in Nablus Roman and Crusader Times
The modern city of Nablus was founded in 72 CE. It was originally named Flavia Neopolis but the name was shortened over time and officially became ‘Nablus’ after the Arab conquest in 636 CE. The town has the remains of a Roman amphitheater built in the 3rd century CE. During the Crusader period of the 12th century, Nablus was an important city and a palace and citadel were built there.
During the nineteenth century, Nablus was a busy center of commerce. In 1882 there were 32 soap factories and 400 looms, all of which exported their products throughout the Middle East. The city was famous for its high-quality soap but also exported cotton, olive oil and textiles. Cotton was a particularly strong local trade.
There was also plenty of local agricultural trade, with figs, olives, grapes and pomegranates recorded as being grown. In addition, there were many vegetable gardens and grain mills across this region.
The area is famed locally for the following products: Kunāfah/künefe a famed local delicacy. It consists of a fine filo-like pastry that is used to make sweet pastries and desserts. These can be flavored with nuts, fruit and cheese. Kanafah dates back to the early fifteenth century CE when the area was under Ottoman rule. Other sweet pastries such as baklawa and Ghoraybeh are also produced locally. Nabulsi soap is an olive oil soap produced only in Nablus, using local olive oil. It has a unique smell, which is said to be a testament to its purity and high quality. It is on record as having been exported across the Middle East and as far as Europe since the tenth century CE. In the nineteenth century, there were around 30 factories but only two survive today.
Interesting Film Locations in Nablus
- Filming in Nablus Old City – Nablus has an atmospheric, bustling street market located between many old buildings and surrounding streets. Located in the Old City, in an area of ancient mosques and Turkish baths, this setting has the feel of a traditional Middle Eastern market, where the bakeries display the local sweet delicacies alongside freshly baked pita bread. Other points of interest, which capture the ancient trades of Nablus, are several leather tanneries, potteries and textile workshops that line the Old City streets. Filming Comments: If you are filming a Biblical documentary, re-enactment or general historic or travel documentary, then any of these film productions in Nablus could include a range of interesting footage from the ancient setting of Nablus.
- Filming in Nablus Turkish Baths – Nablus is lucky to have one of the oldest working Turkish Baths in the country. The Al-Shifa and Al-Hana baths were both built in the eighteenth century and contain four rooms; one for changing and one each for cold, warm and hot spas. These baths are open daily and you can take the opportunity of capturing a traditional Turkish bath on film, using the original tools of camel’s hair brushes and including massage. Filming Comments: In Nablus, you can film an actual working manifestation of a hot bath as opposed to remnants and ruins of ancient bathhouse sites. If you are filming in Nablus then the opportunity to take in the atmosphere of a working Turkish bath in Nablus certainly comes recommended.
- Filming in Nablus Roman Remains – The local amphitheater is the largest in the country. Other interesting Roman remains include a horse track and a soldier’s cemetery, which includes stone-engraved coffins.
- Jacob’s Well – On his return from Mesopotamia, Jacob bought a plot of land from Hanor for ‘a hundred pieces of silver’ (Genesis 33:19). Here he pitched his tent and dug a well for his family and flocks. This well is still in existence and as well as having Old Testament connections is also thought to be the place where Jesus met the Samaritan woman and asked her for water to drink. It has become a place of Christian pilgrimage and today stands within the walls of a Greek Orthodox Monastery. Filming Comments: This would be a great place to film a Biblical re-enactment or documentary footage for your production in Nablus.
- Filming in Nablus Joseph’s Tomb – Joseph’s tomb is located just a few hundred meters from Jacob’s Well. The Bible relates the story of his request to have his remains buried in the Land of Israel and the Book of Joshua relates how, “The bones of Joseph, which the Children of Israel brought up out of Egypt, were buried in Shechem in a parcel of land Jacob bought from the sons of Hamor …” Filming Comments: Biblical Productions can arrange film permits in Nablus, Fixer in Nablus, pre-production in Nablus
- Filming in Nablus Abd al-Hadi Palace and Local Mosques – This three-story, white limestone, fortress-like palace was built in the nineteenth century for the local governor. It has striking architecture, with sweeping arches, grand columns, winding staircases, balconies, hidden courtyards and gardens. The city also has several old mosques, such as the Great Mosque of Nablus and the an-Nasr Mosque. Filming Comments: The governor’s palace and local mosques would all make atmospheric film locations in Nablus.
Biblical Productions can ensure you film at the best times to capture the most pertinent shots.