Tiberias, or Tveria, is situated on the shores of the Kinneret, or Sea of Galilee, in the north of Israel. The city was named in honor of the Roman Emperor Tiberius, but it has been home to Jews since the settling of the land in the times of Joshua. In fact, the Jerusalem Talmud was written mostly in Tiberias, after our expulsion from Jerusalem. And, it will be the first place that the Sanhendrin will re-convene in the days of Moshiach. The city of Tiberias, as we know it today, was built around 20 CE by Herod Aztpa, son of Herod, on the site of the destroyed village of Rakkat, becoming the capitol of the Galilee region. During the time of the Byzantine and Arab rule, the city fell into disrepair and experienced many wars and earthquakes. During the time of the Crusades, it was the central city of the Galilee in the “Kingdom of Jerusalem.” It was beseiged by Saladim during his invasion of the “Kingdom” in 1187. In the 16th century, Suleiman the Magnificent gave Tiberias back to the Jews and the city flourished once again for 100 years. The city continued to face hard times and devastations, but ultimately it survived and today it is one of the four Holy Cities of Eretz Israel, and the jewel of the Galil. Today, about 45,000 residents call Tiberias home. It is Israel’s most popular holiday resort in the north. In the summer months, the streets, marina, beaches, restaurants and stores are filled with vacationers from throughout Israel, as well as, all the countries of the world. Tiberias is a holy site for Christians too, and many come to to the city throughout the year to visit the various sites mentioned in their sacred texts. Key sites to be sure to visit include:
– Keverot of the Tzaddikim (graves of the Holy ones), including Rabbi Meir Ba’al HaNess, Rabbi Akiva, the Rambam, the Ramchal, Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai, the Tomb of the Matriarchs, Kever Rachel (wife of Rabbi Akiva) and many, many more.
– The museum of Donna Grachya (Hebrew name Hanna Nashie) — a very wealthy woman who lived in Tiberias during the 16th century who dedicated her resources and influence to save Jews all over the world.
– Hamey Tiberia – the famous hot mineral springs that have soothed the aches and pains of travelers since the time of Rabbi Akiva. Over 70 different minerals are in the water and it is well known for its healing powers. There is a lovely spa where you can soothe and nourish your body and mind.
– City marina and promenade – from here you can walk along the Kinneret, take a boat ride, eat delicious food from one of many restaurants that line the promenade, and watch the fabulous lazer and water show put on by the city every evening.
– Belleza Art & Coffee – Start your day or end your day in the beautiful art gallery and cafe called Belleza– the newest addition to the sophistication of Tiberias. Belleza is home to many beautiful oil paintings, water color prints and hand-made jewelry, all from Israeli artists. And, the views of the the Kinneret from the upstairs seating in the gallery is spectacular. Belleza is the perfect place to find your gift to take home with you, to relax and enjoy the ambience of the beautiful art and gorgeous Kinneret. Open Sunday through Thursday, 10:00-2:00 and 4:30-9:00, or by appointment. http://bellezaartcafe.wordpress.com.