Safed, Israel

Travel to Safed

Safed, known in Hebrew as Tzfat (Sephardic Hebrew & Modern Hebrew: צְפַת Tsfat, Ashkenazi Hebrew: Tzfas, Biblical Hebrew: Ṣǝp̄aṯ; Arabic: صفد, Ṣafad), is a city in the Northern District of Israel. Located at an elevation of 900 metres (2,953 ft), Safed is the highest city in the Galilee and in Israel.

Safed has been identified with Sepph, a fortified town in the Upper Galilee mentioned in the writings of the Roman Jewish historian Josephus. The Jerusalem Talmud mentions Safed as one of five elevated spots where fires were lit to announce the New Moon and festivals during the Second Temple period. Safed attained local prominence under the Crusaders, who built a large fortress there in 1168. It was conquered by Saladin 20 years later, and demolished by his grandnephew al-Mu'azzam Isa in 1219. After reverting to the Crusaders in a treaty in 1240, a larger fortress was erected, which was expanded and reinforced in 1268 by the Mamluk sultan Baybars, who developed Safed into a major town and the capital of a new province spanning the Galilee. After a century of general decline, the stability brought by the Ottoman conquest in 1517 ushered in nearly a century of growth and prosperity in Safed, during which time Jewish immigrants from across Europe developed the city into a center for wool and textile production and the mystical Kabbalah movement. It became known as one of the Four Holy Cities of Judaism. As the capital of the Safad Sanjak, it was the main population center of the Galilee, with large Muslim and Jewish communities.



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