In the mountains of the Upper Galilee in Israel, you will find one of the four holy cities of Judaism, the town of Safed (Pronounced Tsfat) which is spelt in many different ways that sometimes cause confusion (Safed, Zefat, Tsfat, Zfat, Safad, Safes, Safet, amongst others). The other 3 holy cities are Jerusalem, Hebron and Tiberias.
Safed is situated 900 meters above Sea Level and is the highest city in Israel resulting in its experiencing the coldest winters. Due to its high elevation there are magnificent views to be seen in all directions, the Golan Heights in the east, Mount Hermon and Lebanon in the north, Mount Meron and the valley of Amud in the west and in the south Tiberias and the Sea of Galilee (Kinneret). In recent years Safed has become a popular holiday resort for both Israeli’s and visitors from abroad due to its mild climate and attractive surroundings. Safed is filled with places to see, religious, historical and modern day sites that will keep visitors endlessly entertained.
In the 17th century Safed became the centre of Jewish Mysticism (Kabala) when the Kabbalist Mystics lived, taught and studied in the city. Today Safed is a charming location with its mix of spiritual people and artists as well as the thousands of new immigrants from the USSR and Ethiopia who have made it their home in recent years.
Visit the Citadel at the top of the city which has ruins dating back to Crusader times, or stroll through the Jewish Quarter with its ancient and quaint alleyways with intriguing niches and superb synagogues with their ancient Torah scrolls and pleasing decorations.
Visit the Artists quarter in what used to be the Arab Quarter of the city where artists live and work in beautiful old houses that line the narrow alleyways to view their paintings and artifacts set in window displays.
To see evidence of more modern history find the model of the Davidka weapon that was used by the Jewish defenders of the city during the war of independence in 1948 and visit the site of the very long staircase which the British used to separate the Jewish and Arab quarters of the city before the Jewish State was established.
Safed has exciting museums to visit and interesting cobbled streets to stroll along and browse through the many shops and galleries available. This fascinating city has something of interest for all.
Safed’s setting in the north of Israel is a perfect place for excursions and day trips, outdoor adventures include a trip to the Hula Nature Reserve, there are many hiking routes in the area and wineland tours available. A day out in Tiberias and the Kinneret for a swim is a popular choice amongst the many other pastimes available in the area.
There are a variety of hotels and B&B’s to choose from in Safed that will suit all tastes.