Tiberias is one of Israel’s four holy cities, and the capital of the Galilee. Established in early Roman times, it was the administrative, religious and cultural center of the Jewish nation for centuries until the Arab and Persian conquest. The city was home to many Jewish scholars who composed several significant books, including the Mishna and Talmud, at this very location.
To the south is the oldest area of the city where the famous hot springs are to be found, as well as the old city of Hammat. Hammat was a walled city during Biblical times known for its 17 warm health springs whose temperatures reached 60 degrees centigrade. This assured the city’s spa center status in Roman times. A number of synagogues have been unearthed here and reconstructed, as well as an important mosaic featuring the symbols of the zodiac and two seven-branched menorahs. Now part of the Hamat Tiberias National Park, the Tiberias Springs spa today offers a variety of treatments along with beautiful views over the Sea of Galilee.
The center of Tiberias is home to a ruined Roman city founded by Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great, in 18 AD. He was appointed by Augustus Caesar as ruler of Galilee and the east bank of the Jordan. He made Tiberias his center and named the city after the Roman emperor, Tiberias Caesar.
Tiberias today is a thriving tourist resort and main stop on an Israel tour. The lake and marina offer opportunities for water sports and boat trips, while the promenade is home to restaurants that specialize in fresh seafood. A central boardwalk stretches from the Old City to the promenade where visitors can take scenic tours by horse-drawn carriage.