Tell Balata Archaelogical Park

West Bank

Tell Balata is the remains of what is believed to be the first settlement in Nablus, the Canaanite town of Shechem, dating from the first and second centuries BCE. Shechem was orientated around a spring in the valley between two mountains, Gerizim and Ebal. Close to Jacob's Well, Tell Balata boasts some interesting ruins and an excellent – albeit tiny – museum.

The archaeological park is relatively new, having been developed with support from Unesco. As a result, ruins are still being discovered. By far the most impressive is the remains of a fortress temple that archaeologists believe was used as a public place of worship. A path around the edge of the site also allows visitors to trace the old city walls.

Tell Balata is well signposted from the road from Ramallah and, more often than not, deserted. On the upside, this means you often have it to yourself; on the downside it means you may only be able to get into the museum (well worth a visit) by hammering on the door to rouse the sleeping porter.

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