Northern Israel offers travelers the opportunity to discover the sights and sounds of the rural Galilee region. Jewish and Christian tourists will find many attractions in the area that will allow visitors to discover many ancient places that are sacred to these religious traditions. One such area is the Jewish holy city of Safed, where the winding streets, historic synagogues, ancient cemetery and religious friendships of Jews from around the world provide tourists with the opportunity to learn more about the Land of Israel and its inhabitants.
Safed is often called the "Capitol of the North". The small town, with about 30,000 people, is also one of the four holy cities of Judaism. Safed is known as the "city of Kabbalah" due to the fact that the great 16th-century Kabbalists built their homes and educational centers here.
The Hebrew city pronunciation is "Tzfat" or "Tsfat". Other spellings are Zefat, Zfat and Zefad. When the British ruled the region in 1918–1948, they adopted the Arabic pronunciation of the city's name – "Safed", which became the standard in English. Hebrew pronunciation "Tz & # 39; fat "comes from the Hebrew verb" l & # 39; tza-apot "- this is to be expected. This refers to the Kabbalistic belief that when the messiah comes, he will ride a white donkey from nearby Mt. Meron through Tzfat on the way to rebuilding the Jewish temple in Jerusalem. Jews predict the arrival of a messiah and declare their faith in daily prayers. The name "Tzfat" refers to this expectation.
Historians believe that there was a continuous Jewish community in Tzfat for the first two millennia. Many were descendants of Cohanim, priests who fled Jerusalem after the Romans conquered the city, giving Tzfat his reputation as a City of Refuge. The Crusaders noticed that there was a Jewish community in Zefat when they conquered the area. A large number of Jews who fled the Spanish Inquisition and exile in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries came to Tzfat, including a large number of Kabbalists who built the city's reputation as the city of Kabbalah.
Today, visitors to Tzfat usually go to the Old Jewish Quarter, where they can see some of the old synagogues in the city. The existing synagogues were rebuilt after the earthquakes in Zefat in 1759 and 1837, but they stand in the original places of the original synagogues from the 16th century. Noteworthy synagogues in Tzfat are ARI Ashkenazi, where the 16th-century Kabbalists created the Friday night service Kabbalat Shabbat, ARI Sepharadi, where Rabbi Isaac Luria, ARI, prayed and studied, the synagogue of Joseph Caro, in which Rabbi Joseph Caro wrote the Code of Jewish Law and the synagogue in Abuhav with the 15th century Torah scroll.
In the past, tourists came to Tzfat for a quick visit before moving to other northern Israeli places. Today, the growing tourism industry provides tourists who want to stay in Tsfat with many opportunities to explore, relax and enjoy the mountain air. The city is known as an art center, and visitors can browse galleries of paintings, sculptures, jewelry, ceramics and other handicrafts.
Travelers can find any type of accommodation that suits their needs, from boutique guesthouses to five-star hotels, simple rooms and affordable hostel accommodation. Friendly accommodation & # 39; The owners speak English and are ready to present ideas for local sightseeing, both within Tzfat and the surrounding area. Many people find Tzfat a convenient stopover when traveling through the Golan and Galilee regions.