Discover the beautiful surroundings of Zefat
Situated roughly 3 300 ft above the Jordan valley in Upper Galilee, Zefat (also Safed) has been a holy town to the Jews and a center of tradition for many centuries. It also boasts a mild climate and beautiful surrounds which make it a popular Israeli holiday resort. However most tourists prefer to spend only a day or two here as part of their tour of the country.
Zefat has had a long and, at times, troubled history. According to legend the city was founded by one of the sons of Noah after the flood but the first mention of it was made only in about 2 CE when it was inhabited by a number of Mishnah and Talmud scholars. In 1102 the Crusaders visited the town and left their mark in the form of a castle which was later destroyed along with much of the city in 1188. In 1240 it was rebuilt by French Templars and in the 16th century it became primarily a Jewish town. Eventually Zefat gained status in the Jewish community as a holy city - a title it still holds today. The residents of Zefat suffered terribly over the ages as the town suffered from raids, attacks, earthquakes and plagues. Fortunately they survived and the town is thriving today. Despite enjoying years as a mixed population city, continual immigrations of Jews from other parts of the world and the devastating effects of disease and earthquakes as well as inner-conflicts has resulted in Zefat being a purely Jewish town.
Besides great weather and beautiful surrounds, Zefat has a lot to offer the average tourist. As you walk the cobbled streets of the city you will likely find a lot to see. For the art lovers there is the Artists quarter which is situated off of Jerusalem street in town. Here you will find many fine artworks on display as Zefat has gained a reputation for being somewhat of an artists colony. Just past Jerusalem street you will find the Davidka monument - a crudely constructed cannon that is credited with driving the Arabs out the town. The town also has many fine synagogues, a Jewish cemetery and the Israeli Bible Museum. A walk out of town and up the hill will have you at the castle remains, memorial and gardens of Hametzuda. The mountaintop also offers a great view of the city.
After touring the city, you may head out to the ruins of Bar'am where a notable synagogue once stood. Not far from the city is the Cave of Shem and Eber. If you're looking for easy access to the town, you might try flying in from Rosh Pinna and then hiring a taxi to Zefat as it is fairly close. If you're going to be touring Israel soon, Zefat is likely already part of your tour. However if you want to get more out of this idyllic town, we advise you find a way to spend a bit more time here.