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Tiberias, the capital of the Galilee, is waking up, looking ahead and nourishing the future with its glorious past. Old and new live side by side, stories and tales come alive and ears want to hear more and more…The old city’s basalt stones tell wondrous stories, and the remains of the old wall glimpsed here and there, bear witness to the wall which had once surrounded the city. Centuries old Jewish synagogues remain active alongside beautiful churches and cathedrals. Multicolored ships and boats sail on the Sea of Galilee while the city’s boardwalk welcomes the evening crowds.
Tiberias is one of four holy cities which were established around 20 AD by Herod Antipas. Tiberias became the capital of his realm in the Galilee and was named in honor of Antipas’ patron, the Roman Emperor Tiberias. During that time, Tiberias became the major center of Jewish culture, spiritually and financially. Eventually, the Jewish institutions: Sanhedrin and the Jewish presidency moved to Tiberias from Sepphoris. The Jerusalem Talmud was inscribed here in the 5th century and the city’s poets and preachers of the Sages era refined the Hebrew oral tradition now known as Tiberian Hebrew, also credited with putting the finishing touches on the Aleppo Codex, which is used to this very day.
Tiberias’ status as a regional center was maintained during the Roman Empire, the Byzantine era, the Muslim era and the Crusaders’ rule. Difficult times such as earthquakes, repeated conquests, diseases and epidemics dramatically reduced the Jewish community. In 1558, the Portuguese born Dona Gracia Mendes tried to rejuvenate the Jewish community in the city, regarding Tiberias as the basis for the Jewish State in the Land of Israel.
During the 18th century, a second successful attempt to renew the Jewish settlement was made by Rabbi Haim Abulafia, who had been invited to Tiberias by the regional ruler, Daher El Omar. Rabbi Abulafia’s actions created the basis for today’s vibrant Jewish city.
Dispersed between the residential neighborhoods are the memorial tombs of the great rabbis and sages, such as the Rambam, Rabbi Meir Baal Hanes, Rabbi Akiva, Ramhal and many others, which are central attractions for Jewish visitors from all over the world.
Visitors and tourists can enjoy boating and sailing on the Sea of Galilee. During the spring and summer many water activities are held on the beautiful beaches. From the Swiss Forest nature reserve you can almost touch the Golan Heights… Observation points, history, archaeology and colorful markets. Yesterday, today and tomorrow, all live side by side in Tiberias