The Nablus Independence Hotel
The Independence Hotel is to celebrate the 70th anniversary of its founding in the Canaanite city of Nablus. It is still preserving its historical beauty and presence despite the boom in modern hotels in the city and across the occupied West Bank.
At the entrance to Hittin Street, which links the neighborhoods of Nablus with its old town, the Independence Hotel, run by Mustafa Eran and his brothers, attracts foreign and local tourists, though modestly recently.
According to Mustafa Eran, 64, the hotel was founded in 1948 when the Nakba (catastrophe) of the Palestinian people took place. His father came to the city from Jaffa, where he worked in the tourist industry, with his work spreading to Haifa. He founded several small hotels, all of which were later closed except for the Independence Hotel, which became a historical landmark in the city.
Anyone visiting the hotel would first walk through a narrow corridor and find on one side of which windows of one of the hotel rooms that date decades back. He would then encounter a large lounge with a large reception hall in the middle of which is a modest office, from which Eran manages the hotel.
The rooms are spread on both sides of the building, some of which overlook Hittin Street, and the others overlook the Asi Cinema and the Nablus Municipality building, which has a garden full of trees and a water fountain.
The hotel consists of six large and spacious rooms, according to Eran and a large 65-meter salon. Six families live on working in it, although the current economic situation barely covers the actual cost, the family’s insistence on preserving it as a legacy continues.
Eran recalls the harsh conditions which the hotel experienced following the occupation of Nablus in 1967. The hotels of the city were banned from receiving guests for ten years. Israeli soldiers then occupied the hotel for 18 days and reoccupied it during the first intifada and the invasion of Nablus in 2002 for 13 days. This caused considerable damage to the hotel’s furniture and property.
He said with sorrow in his tone, “Every time we receive promises to get compensation for the damage that has been done, but with nothing materializing.”
The hotel’s foreign customers come to know about the history of old Nablus. Tourists from France, Italy and Japan, stay at the hotel. Some tourist guides include information about the hotel. It is also close to the old town and the new neighborhoods, which attracts locals as well, especially merchants from Hebron and Jenin.
Eran boasts that the hotel’s atmosphere makes it full of life than modern hotels, as its large salon hosted memorable discussions between traders and guests, which made it a special place for everyone who stayed there.
(Source / 20.11.2017)