Issue No.
14, June 1999 Latest update 9 of July 2007, at 6.25 am
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Ijnisinya Village Nablus District

Four hundred residents, primarily farmers, live in Ijnisinya village, north of Nablus, totally oblivious of the treasure of historical evidence lying just under their feet. Originally, the Roman queen Helena who lived in Sebastiya used to swim here with her maids. The area at the time was a small lake surrounded by beautiful gardens. Queen Helena forbade men from entering the area in order to give herself and her maids total freedom. This is where the name Ijnisinya came from meaning "the Eden of women". There are two other stories connected to the name. The first is that it is an Aramaic word meaning "ethnicity" in reference to the Jews who hid in the area from Nebukhadnassar to preserve the Jewish "race". The second story is that Ijnisinya is derived from the name of Emperor Justinian who escaped the destruction of Sebastiya to this area, and some say he was deported. The village mosque dates back to the days of Omar bin al Khattab, which is currently part of the village school. Beneath the mosque is a wide Roman reservoir for underground water which, until recently, was still used by the villagers as a water source. Queen Helena built an aqueduct to carry water from Ijnisinya to Sebastya when the latter was hit by a drought. The Aqueduct is named after her, and it starts from Nablus through Ein Beit el Ma, Ijnisinya, and then to Sebastiya. Another Roman building called Sheikh Shu'la lies on the top of a hill south of the village and overlooks three villages: Ijnisinya, Sebastiya, and An Naqura. It is said to be a Raman monastery built in this area for quiet and solitude. The monastery was originally seven storeys high, but now there are only remains: stone closets, a prison, galleys, secret passageways, and a lot of wells. Its name, "Shu'leh", comes from the time of Saleheddin who used this building and similar buildings to transmit messages using fire (Shu'leh in Arabic.) Some of the village lands were used as a cemetery for the Romans, especially after the Roman Empire became Christian. It is popular belief that these graves contain treasures. These graves are generally referred to as "Christian graves", or "Khallet Issa". Many of the village residents were Christian, but following disagreements with other residents they eventually emigrated to other villages such as Zababdeh and Birzeit.
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