The Great Mosque (Jama’a al-Kbir)
While strolling the narrow streets of the Old City’s busy and noisy vegetable market (souq), notice a beautiful and massive gate decorated with marble columns that an expert eye would automatically associate with the Crusader era standing behind the movable stands of local vendors. Cross the threshold, and you will find yourself immersed in the mosque’s quiet and peaceful atmosphere of prayer.
The Great Mosque is the oldest and the most historically interesting mosque of Nablus. On its site originally stood a Roman basilica built in the third century. The basilica was later destroyed to make room for a Byzantine cathedral, which is depicted in the famous sixth-century Madaba Map. In the following centuries, the church was transformed into a mosque, only to become a Christian place of prayer once again during the reign of Crusaders. Finally, in the 12th century, Ayyubids again converted it into a mosque.
Al Nasr Mosque and the Clock Tower
Tradition holds that this mosque, with its prominent green dome, was built on the spot where Jacob received from his sons part of Joseph’s blood-soaked tunic. Today, the Al-Nasr Mosque is one of the most popular places to pray in Nablus.
This traditionally holy site was originally occupied by a Byzantine church. Some years later, Crusaders arrived in the region and built a small monastery on the same piece of land; that monastery was then transformed into a mosque by the Mamluks. The Mamluk mosque was eventually replaced by an Ottoman one, which was destroyed in an earthquake in 1927. The present building is rather new and dates to 1935.