Nablus, to the North of Jerusalem, is the largest town in Palestine. At present, the old town is dilapidated. The houses are divided and rented. There was a dire need for infrastructure. The need for rehabilitation prompted the Municipality to undertake several projects simultaneously. An infrastructure project realised from 1991 to 1993 supplied clean water to the buildings, partly updated the sewage system, and moved the electric and telephone lines underground. The streets were paved and underpasses were restored. The façades of several buildings were cleaned and pointed. Interventions were concentrated in public spaces and aimed at restoring pride to the Nablus Old Town and encouraging the Nablusi to participate in the rehabilitation the town.
Nablus Old Town displays many of the characteristics of eastern Mediterranean towns. The two or three story buildings are made of stone and use a system of arches for structure. Two or three-storey houses line the narrow streets with extensions towards the back usually have a courtyard as the junction of the various parts of the houses. The old town displays a pleasant consistency mixed with lots of variation. Hosh, the extended family house was the basic unit of dwelling, as indicated by the existence of more than 90 hosh in the old town today. These usually have flat roofs and occasionally have a dome partially protruding over cubes of stone. The interior surfaces are plastered and the exteriors have exposed, coursed stone walls with pointing.
The ultimate objective is the total rehabilitation of the old town. Although not clearly defined, different stages of the rehabilitation have different objectives. The first stage, is to upgrade public amenities and better the appearance of the old town by façades. The aim of this stage is to draw attention to the old centre, to convey the feeling of belonging, and to raise public awareness. The municipality, which carries responsibility for the project, and the people involved in the project, are convinced that this is a strategic way to get the owners of the buildings involved in the restoration.
Source: Aga Khan Trust for Culture