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Tiberias is a large town located on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee/Lake Kinneret in the north of Israel. The view of the lake from the hills is simply fascinating - so much water, and so blue. In the 18th and 19th centuries, Tiberias received an influx of rabbis who established the city as a center for Jewish learning. Tiberias is one of the Jewish Four Holy Cities, along with Jerusalem, Hebron, and Safed. It is a pleasant lakefront resort, and also a good base for visiting the Galilee and Golan (see "Get out" below). (less...) (more...)
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Points of Interest
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Points of Interest in Tiberias
- Hamath Tiberias National Park. Israel's spa craze actually has a 2000-year-old history which started at the hot springs of Hammat Tiberias when, during Roman times, they were the focus, if not raison d'être, of a community of 40,000 fervent bathers. Check out the history of the site at the Hammat Tiberias National Park, which features a small museum in what was originally part of a Turkish bathhouse. The main highlight is a synagogue dating from the 3rd to 5th centuries AD, which has a beautiful zodiac mosaic floor. Much has been made of the mosaic's curious mix of Jewish and pagan symbols, but somehow this seems quite apt in Tiberias, a town that, historically, seems to have been able to reconcile the spiritual with the more earthly. The fame of Hammat Tiberias was such that in AD 110 the Emperor Trajan had a coin struck dedicated to the springs - with the image of Hygeia, the goddess of health, shown sitting on a rock, enjoying the water. The springs were also mentioned by Al-Idris, an Arab writer who lived during the Crusades, and were recommended by the Jewish sage Rambam to his patients.
- Old Cemetery with both Jewish and Muslim sections
- Church & Monastery of the Apostles is Greek Orthodox complex is on the site of a Byzantine monastery that was destroyed by the Persians in the 7th century. Since then the complex has been rebuilt and destroyed numerous times; the buildings standing today date from the late 19th century but have been restored as recently as 1975. Three monks live here and they'll usually admit visitors who ring the bell. There are four chapels beyond the pleasant, walled courtyard. One chapel is dedicated to St Peter, one to the disciples, and one to Mary Magdalene; the one in the ancient round tower is dedicated to St Nicholas.
- The tomb of Rabbi Moshe Ben Maimon (Rambam) is the final resting place of the Spanish physician, also known as Maimonides or Rambam, who worked in the court of the Muslim ruler Saladin. This revered rabbi, who died in 1204, was one of 12th-century Egypt's most highly regarded sages. Legend has it that before his death in Cairo, he instructed followers to load his remains onto a camel and bury him wherever the camel expired. The camel was apparently drawn to Tiberias.Next to Rabbi Moshe Ben Maimon's tomb lies Rabbi Yohanan Ben Zakkai, the Holy Land's most eminent sage at the time of the Roman destruction of Jerusalem. Ben Zakkai is said to have faked his own death, escaping the city in a coffin and jumping out of the casket in front of the Roman general Vespasian who he prophesied would become the new Caesar. When the prophecy came true, Ben Zakkai was granted one wish by the new leader; a Jewish learning centre for him and students.
- The Berko Park - the excavations of Roman Tiberias
- St. Peter Church - a medieval crusader church
- The Khan - this used to be Tiberias' central square with a mosque at its centre
- The Antiquities Museum - housed in the Fishermen's Mosque, now under renovation
- The Jewish Court - the site of three 19th Century synagogues at the heart of the old town
- The Scottish Compound - this used to be a small Scottish colony during the 19th century. It now houses a boutique hotel and a church.
- The Citadel - the Turkish citadel was the highest point in the old town. It now houses an art gallery.
- St Peter's Church Hidden along the northern promenade it is worth looking out for the lovely Franciscan church built by 12th-century Crusaders. The Muslims converted it into a mosque, and you can make out an area of uneven stone on the southern wall filling in the hole where a mihrab (prayer niche indicating the direction of Mecca) was carved. Later, the Turks used the building as a caravanserai before it was rebuilt as a church in 1870.
- As out of place as a pin-stripe suited gent at a teenage rave, the dignified little Al-Amari Mosque looks threatened and lost squeezed between some gaudy shops and a brusque concrete supermarket. Built by Daher al-Omar in the mid-18th century, the mosque is one of the very few buildings in Tiberias that predates 1948. It is generally held that its construction was partly paid for by the town's Jewish community, presumably grateful to the sheikh for being permitted to return.
- One of Judaism's holiest sites is the Tomb of Meir Ba'al Hanes, the 2nd-century rabbi who helped to compile the Mishnah.The tomb is marked by two synagogues: Sephardic, the one on the left with the white dome; and Ashkenazi, with the blue dome. In the courtyard of the Sephardic synagogue is a pillar topped by a large bowl, and four days before the Lag B'Omer holiday a bonfire is lit here on the Pesah Sheni (second Passover). Crowds of religious Jews visit throughout the year to pray and it is a belief that God will answer the prayers of pilgrims with personal problems.
- Amdur Fine Gallery. A contemporary art gallery featuring the works of several local artists.
- Sea of Galilee fountain-statue. Showing water level and shape of the sea
Popular events in Tiberias in the near future
- Stroll along the promenade and catch a northern breeze
- Visit the City Spa, located within City limits and featuring thermal and sulphur pools
- Take a swim in the lake, but don't urinate in it, because the water from here is being pumped and whisked in underground pipes to central Israel for drinking by humans...
- Visit St. Peters church, this holy church was built in year 1100 and you won't want to miss it!
- Hire a bicycle and go cycling around the Kinneret lake (requires a whole day to complete the approximately 55 km circuit)
- You used to be able to take a boat from Tiberias to Ein Gev on the other side of the sea. But as of July 2009 you can only do this as part of a large group, there is no regular ferry service. The "Kinneret Sailing Company" 04-665-8008 runs the boats.
- Avi's Restaurant, Ha kishon street (in front of Leonardo Club Hotel). 11:00-23:00. A very well known and famous restaurant in Tiberias. The place known for it's delicious meats and it's fresh fish from the Sea of Galilee. Highly recommended
- Old Tveria restaurant in the center is a really gourmet institution with reasonable prices (much cheaper than comparable restaurants in Tel Aviv). Try their filet mignon or Beef Strogonoff!! An old British pub ambiance with outdoor terrace.
- The Fish Market
- The promenade
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Tiberias on Wikivoyage.