Tiberias is a large city in the north of Israel, situated on the western coast of the Sea of Galilee (the Kinneret). The rich history of Tiberias, alongside its excellent weather and great views, make it one of the most popular resorts in Israel and one of the main tourist attractions.
Tiberias has been one of the most significant places in Israel for the Jewish community for centuries: Together with Jerusalem, Hebron and Safed, it is one of the holiest cities in the country. It was the home of the great Jewish council (the Sanhedrin) and many claim it is where the Jerusalem Talmud (“Talmud Yerushalmi”) was written. Today it is still mostly populated with different religious Jewish communities.
Tiberias has been the heart of the Galilee for many years. In the days of Tiberius Caesar – whom the city is named after – the Jewish community was banned from living in Safed and moved to Tiberias. In the roman days, many Jewish scholars and rabbis lived and studied there, and were later buried in and around the city.
Since those days, many visitors come to pay their respect and pray in some of these Tzadikim Graves (graves of the pious). Most famous of which are the tomb of Rambam (in the city center) which was one of the greatest minds in Jewish history; the tomb of Rabbi Meir Baal Haness, where a special festival is held every second Passover (next to the southern part of Tiberias’ sea of Galilee coast); and the tomb of Rabbi Akiva (at the western entrance to Tiberias) which is visited traditionally by believers at the evening of Yom Kippur.
The Tiberias ancient synagogue is another site to visit if you wish to explore the Jewish community’s daily routine in the old days. The ancient synagogue (on the southern exit of the city) served the Jewish population during the third and fourth centuries, and has a beautiful mosaic floor with the images of the 12 signs. Another nice stop is the Tiberias Archeological site (at the heart of the city), which shows the remnants of an ancient synagogue that used to be active during the sixth century, as well as a Jewish living quarter.