A visit to the city of Safed (Tsfat) - with its superb mountaintop setting and fresh, clean mountain air, is a delightful experience.
The ancient Galilean city is the highest city in the Holy Land, and commands a spectacular view of the Galilee in the winter with its green mountains and the white snow-capped peak of Mount Hermon.
Safed is a picturesque city of spiritual people and artists, wrapped in mysticism and mystery, and steeped in sacred atmosphere. Visitors to Safed feel the city’s warm embrace as they wander through its alleyways past charming stone houses with their artists’ studios and workshops.
Safed is one of the four holy cities in the area. It has been a spiritual centre since the 16th century when it was the centre of Kabbala (Jewish mysticism). The Kabbalist mystics lived, studied, taught, and wrote in the city and many of the graves are objects of veneration.
The ancient picturesque alleyways of the Jewish quarter contain hidden niches and beautiful synagogues whose rich past emanates from the high ceilings, colourful decorations, and ancient Torah scrolls.
The artists’ quarter is located in what was previously the Arab quarter of Safed. Artists reside and work in their studios in the ancient and magnificent houses, and their paintings and artefacts fill the display windows and visitors can view them while walking through the narrow alleyways.
Safed also has exciting museums that narrate the city’s history, luxurious hotels that conserve its antique character, and a huge Crusader fortress. It also hosts numerous festivals that are rich in colour and atmosphere.
To visit Safed - with the grapevines growing up the arbours of its stone houses, the decorated iron gates, the beautiful panorama that is visible from the balconies, and the winding cobblestone alleyways, is akin to strolling through a painting. It is a city for vacationers and tourists, a city of artists and men of religion, history and tradition.