Safed is a small town situated 900 meters above sea level. Visitors on an Israel trip can enjoy memorable views from the town over the Golan, Mount Hermon, Lebanon, Mount Meron, and the Amud Valley and towards Tiberias and the Sea of Galilee. The old town consists of cobblestone alleys, artists’ galleries, guest houses, and medieval synagogues. A sacred city, and one of Israel’s four holiest cities together with Jerusalem, Hebron and Tiberias, Safed is said to be from where the Messiah will come on his way to Jerusalem at the time of the final redemption. The city has a rich and varied past, and is, according to legend, where Shem and ever, the son and grandson of Noah, established the yeshiva at which Jacob studied.
A spiritual center
The city prospered during the 16th century when many Jewish clerics and mystics migrated here after escaping the Spanish Inquisition. This led to Safed becoming an important spiritual center of the Jewish world and a place that still welcomes many Jewish travelers today. The town, where the mountain air is said to promote the ability to think clearly and to meditate, is famous for being the place where Kabbalah was at its peak of popularity, and is today renowned as a center for Jewish learning. Safed was also the site of the first printing press in the Middle East and was where the first Hebrew book printed in Israel was published.
The old town and outskirts
The nearby forest and nature reserve are places that provide seclusion and privacy for those who are here to connect with God or be at one with nature. There are also many notable graves of righteous, holy men buried in the forest outskirts, some of which are now modest prayer houses.