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Sakhnin - سخنين: Brief History & Geography Of Sakhnin

Posted by AHMAD MASRI on March 9, 2001
Sakhnin is a very old town, which dates back 3,500 years. The town is situated in the heart of the Galilee.
The town is built over three hills. It is 200-250 meters above sea level, and it is located in a valley surrounded by mountains, the highest of them is 602 meters high.
Today there are over 20,000 inhabitants in Sakhnin and most of them make a living from business,light industry, and work in construction in the neighboring cities in the area.

Important Sites in Sakhnin and the Nearby Area

There are many old houses, caves and graves in the old section of Sakhnin. In the heart of the old town there is a grave called The Sheikh Ibrahim which is one of the 66 graves in Palestine, who was considered a saint by the locals. This grave/shrine used to be visited by many women, light candles inside it the shrine, and hang pieces of cloth on its walls asking for blessing. Another important site, which lies in the Christian neighborhood, is called Rabbi Yihushua Di Sakhnin or Alsaddik in the local language. He is buried in gigantic stone coffin. In the past, the local people were scared whenever they passed this grave during the night, while others used to kiss its walls and ask the dead Rabbi to heal them and their relatives because it was believed that the Rabbi used to heal people from certain diseases. Another famous shrine is al Sheik Obeid's shrine, which is very close to the Shaknin's guesthouse. This shrine was deticated to al Sheik Abdalla Ibrahim Khalaili. Women also used to visit this shrine, paint its walls with henna, and hang pieces of cloth on the walls and then ask the Sheik to fulfill their wishes. The last grave, which also became a shrine later, lies in the western cemetery of the town and it is known by Sheik Ismael. This grave was recently restored by some volunteers.
Another important site in Sakhnin is called The Cave of the Ten which is carved in the rocks. The shepherds used to use its water for their cattle. It is not clear how this cave got its name. Some people believe that it got its name because of the number of fingers in a person's both hands. Another version says that it got its name because of the Ten Commandments. Another important site, which lies in the southeast of the town, is called The Spring which served as the main source of drinking water for the people of Sakhnin decades ago.

Sites in the western area

1) The Cave of the Ten. It lies northwest of Sakhnin. It is believed that ten saints lived in it since it was considered a holy place. The cave has two entrances and it was always filled with water due to its remoteness from the people.
2) The Cofton Valley. It also lies northwest of Sakhnin In winter a lot of rain runs through the valley. It was believed that a group of Egyptians lived in the area and they were the first people to plant cotton.
3) The valley of pebbles. It is a small valley, which has a lot of pebbles and little stones. In winter the floods sweep away the soil and the small stones remain at the bottom of the valley. However, the surrounding areas are considered fertile land for agriculture. This valley also lies in the western part of the town.
4) Khallat Hassan. It is northwest of Sakhnin. It got its name after a man called Hassan who lived in the open air. Other people believed that it was called Khallat Hassan because this area has no heights and it is mainly flat. However, many houses have been built recently after the town's boundaries were expanded.

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