“The skies are like sapphires, the hills are like the Garden of Eden, and the stones are like diamonds.” When a traveler from Tzfat was asked to describe it, that’s what he said. And he wasn’t exaggerating!
One of Israel’s four holy cities, Tzfat is the birthplace of kabbalah (authentic Jewish mysticism, not Madonna-kabbalah) and you can feel it. Touring its colorful alleyways, visiting its ancient synagogues, meeting its mystics, breathing its air… you can just feel the spiritual aura of the place.
Every staircase, every wall, every ancient alleyway sparkles like it’s made of diamonds. And to those who visit, Tzfat feels a lot like heaven.
Must See Sites:
The spiritual air of Tzfat has naturally attracted artists of all kinds for generations. The Artist’s Quarter is where you can see some of Israel’s best contemporary artists’ work. You can also see those artists at work on their looms and easels by strolling into one of the many open studios.
This synagogue, built in the late 16th century in the memory of Rabbi Isaac Luria, who was known as the Ari, is probably the oldest synagogue still in use in Israel. It’s known for its awe-inspiring holy ark, a huge work of art with its intricate detailing and made entirely of olive wood.
This Crusader era site is part of Tzfat’s old city and is located on the highest point of the highest city in the land. It was once a fortress and but now serves as a city park with incredible views and plenty of green area for picnicking.
The Great Stairs, also called Ma’a lot Olei Hagardomin memory of Tzfat freedom fighters executed by the British, form the boundary between the Artist’s Colony and the Old City of Tzfat. They extend all the way up the slope of the mountain Tzfat is situated on.
Intro to Kabbalah: Avraham Levental, originally born in Michigan and now a Tsfat local, unveils the inspirational elements of Kabbalah through his artwork. Hear his transformational story of how he went from being a secular Detroit college student to a Kabbalistic artist in Israel.
Ronen’s Yemenite Restaurant: It’s food for the soul and for the stomach at this one-of-a-kind café. Feel the magic of Tzfat through the savory Yemenite cuisine.
Candle Making Workshop: The candle workshop at Safed Candles exhibits how the famed store creates its renowned wax sculptures and candles. Browse the shelves and display case and see amazing wax depictions of Biblical scenes, such as Noah’s Ark, David and Goliath, as well as a host of other wax creations.
#Protips: Find that perfect piece of unique Israeli art you find at the Artist Colony.
Def make your own freshly squeezed juice at one of the street vendors here — it’s heavenly.
Also, bring along a scarf or cardigan to be respectful when visiting some of the holier sites of this spiritual city.