Tzfat (Safed in Arabic), is a charming ancient city where spirituality, mysticism and artistry come together to create a harmonious and enchanting atmosphere. As Israel’s most elevated city (900m), it’s perched high in the Upper Galilee mountains about two hours northeast of Tel Aviv. We rented a car in Tel Aviv to make our way into the countryside. It was surprisingly hassle-free navigating around Israel with signs in English and no check points (unlike our experience in Jordan). Little is known about Tzfat’s early history, but archeologists have found evidence that the city was inhabited since 1500 BC. The city flourished during the 15th and 16th centuries with the settlement of Sephardic Jews who fled from the Spanish Inquisition. Many were practicing Jewish Mysticism (Kabbalah). Shortly thereafter the city was declared one of the four holy cities of Israel.
There is warm and almost magical feeling in the air as you wander through Tzfat’s labyrinth of narrow cobbled stone alleyways. It’s easy to find hidden beauty as you turn each corner, encountering centuries old synagogues, antiquated stone houses, stunning turquoise doors, and decorated iron gates. The spiritual city is home to a mix of traditional Hasidic Jews and modern Supernaturalists practicing Kabbalah through mystical teachings of Judaism. There are a number of bohemian travelers as well as student groups that come to Tzfat from around the world to study Judaism and connect with their inner soul. Continue Reading