In the center of Nablus lies its old city.
It is composed of six major quarters: Yasmina, Gharb, Qaryun, Aqaba, Qaysariyya and Habala. Habala is the largest quarter and its population growth led to the development of two smaller neighborhoods: al-Arda and Tal al-Kreim. The old city is densely populated and the prominent families residing therein are the Nimrs, Touqans, and Abd al-Hadis.
The large "fortress-like" compound of the Abd al-Hadi Palace built in the 19th century is located in Qaryun. The Nimr Hall and the Touqan Palace are located in the center of the old city. There are several mosques in the Old City: The Great Mosque of Nablus, an-Nasr Mosque, al-Tina Mosque, al-Khadra Mosque, al-Hanbali, al-Anbia, Ajaj, etc. There are six hamaams (Turkish baths) in the Old City, the most prominent of them being al-Shifa and al-Hana. Al-Shifa Hamaam was built by the Touqans in 1624. Al-Hana in Yasmina was the last hamaam built in the city in the 19th century. It was closed in 1928 but restored and reopened in 1994. Several leather tanneries, souks, pottery and textile workshops line the Old City streets.
There are a number of historic monuments in the old city including the Khan al-Tujjar and the al-Manara Clock Tower built in 1906. Nablus is a commercial trade center dealing in traditional industries such as the production of soap, olive oil, and handicrafts. Other industries include furniture production, tile production, stone quarrying, textile manufacturing and leather tanning. The city is also a regional trading center for live produce. Most of these industries are centered in the old city. The Vegetable Oil Industry Co. is a Nablus factory that deals with refining vegetable oils, especially olive oil, and vegetable butter from the factory is exported to Jordan. The al-Huda Textile factory is also located in Nablus. In 2000, the factory produced 500 pieces of clothing daily; however, production plummeted to 150-200 pieces daily in 2002. Al-Huda mainly imports textiles from China and exports finished products to Israel.
Nablus' once thriving soap industry has been largely isolated due to difficult transportation conditions stemming from West Bank closures and IDF incursions.
Today, there are only two soap factories still operating in the city. Before 2000, 13.4% of Nablus' residents worked in Israel, with the figure dropping to 4.7% in 2004. The city's manufacturing sector made up 15.7% of the economy in 2004, a drop from 21% in 2000. Since 2000, most of Nablus' workforce has been employed in agriculture and local trade. The city's unemployment rates have increased dramatically in recent years, rising from 14.2% in 1997 to an estimate of 60% in 2004. Unemployment in the old city and in the refugee camps is estimated to be as high as 80%. Due to the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Nablus has been closed off by the IDF. The city's encirclement with checkpoints is cited by the United Nations as a reason for high unemployment and a "devastated" economy. Many businesses have either moved from or have been established outside Nablus, beyond the tight ring of closures around the city.
Nablus is home to the Palestine Securities Exchange (PSE) — the only securities exchange in the Palestinian territories — and the al-Quds Financial Index. They are housed in the al-Qasr building in the Rafidia suburb of the city. The PSE's first trading session took place on February 19, 1997. In 2007, the capitalization of the PSE topped 3.5 million Jordanian dinars.