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Tiberias, טְבֶרְיָה
Tiberias P5310012.JPG
Coat of arms of Tiberias.png
Tiberias, טְבֶרְיָה is located in Israel
Tiberias, טְבֶרְיָה
Location within Israel's North District
District North
Government City (from 1948)
Hebrew About this sound טְבֶרְיָה
Arabic طبرية
Name meaning City of Tiberius
Population 39,700[1] (2007)
Area 10,872 dunams (10.872 km2; 4.198 sq mi)
Mayor Zohar Oved
Founded in c. 20 CE
Coordinates 32°47′23″N 35°31′29″E / 32.78972°N 35.52472°E / 32.78972; 35.52472Coordinates: 32°47′23″N 35°31′29″E / 32.78972°N 35.52472°E / 32.78972; 35.52472
Website [

Tiberias (pronounced /taɪˈbɪəri.əs/; Hebrew: טְבֶרְיָה‎, Tverya About this sound (audio) ; Arabic: طبرية‎, Ṭabariyyah) is a city on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee, Lower Galilee, Israel. Established in 20 CE, it was named in honour of the emperor Tiberius.[2] Since the sixteenth century, Tiberias has been considered one of Judaism's Four Holy Cities, along with Jerusalem, Hebron and Safed.[3] In the 2nd-10th centuries, Tiberias was the largest Jewish city in the Galilee, and the political and religious hub of the Jews of Palestine. According to Christian tradition, Jesus performed several miracles in the Tiberias district, making it an important pilgrimage site for devout Christians.[4] Tiberias has historically been known for its hot springs, believed to cure skin and other ailments, for thousands of years.[4]





Tiberias was founded as a Jewish city sometime around 20 CE by Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great, who made it the capital of his realm in Galilee. It was named in honor of the Roman Emperor Tiberius. There is a legend that Tiberias was built on the site of the biblical village of Rakkat, mentioned in the Book of Joshua.[5] A discussion of Tiberias as Rakkat appears in the Talmud.[6] In The Antiquities of the Jews, the Roman Jewish historian Josephus states that Tiberias was near Emmaus.[2] This location is repeated in The Wars of the Jews.[7]

Under the Roman Empire, the city was known by its Greek name Τιβεριάς (Tiberiás, Modern Greek Τιβεριάδα Tiveriáda), an adaptation of the taw-suffixed Semitic form that preserved its feminine grammatical gender.

In the days of Antipas, the Jews refused to settle there; the presence of a cemetery rendered the site ritually unclean. Antipas settled predominantly non-Jews there from rural Galilee and other parts of his domains in order to populate his new capital, and Antipas furthermore built a palace on the acropolis.[8] The prestige of Tiberias was so great that the sea of Galilee soon came to be called the sea of Tiberias.[8] The city was governed by a city council of 600 with a committee of 10 until 44 CE when a Roman Procurator was set over the city after the death of Agrippa I.[8] In 61 CE Agrippa II annexed the city to his kingdom whose capital was Caesarea Phillippi.[9] During the First Jewish–Roman War Josephus Flavius took control of the city and destroyed Herod's palace but was able to stop the city being pillaged by his Jewish army.[8][10] Where most other cities in Palestine were razed, Tiberias was spared because its inhabitants remained loyal to Rome after Josephus Flavius had surrendered the city to the Roman emperor Vespasian.[8][11] It became a mixed city after the fall of Jerusalem; with Judea subdued, the southern Jewish population migrated to Galilee.[12][13]

In 145 CE, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai "cleansed the city of ritual impurity allowing Jews to settle in the city in numbers."[9] The Sanhedrin, the Jewish court, also fled from Jerusalem during the Great Jewish Revolt against the Roman Empire, and after several moves eventually settled in Tiberias in about 150 CE.[8][13] It was to be its final meeting place before disbanding in the early Byzantine period. Following the expulsion of all Jews from Jerusalem after 135, Tiberias and its neighbor Sepphoris became the major Jewish centres. From the time when Yochanan bar Nafcha (d. 279) settled in Tiberias, the city became the focus of Jewish religious scholarship in the land. The Mishnah along with the Jerusalem Talmud, (the written discussions of generations of rabbis in the Land of Israel – primarily in the academies of Tiberias and Caesarea), was probably compiled in Tiberias by Rabbi Judah haNasi in around 200 CE.[13] The 13 synagogues served the spiritual needs of a growing Jewish population.[8]

In the sixth century Tiberias was still the seat of Jewish religious learning. In light of this, Bishop Simeon of Beth Arsham urged the Christians of Palestine to seize the leaders of Judaism in Tiberias, to put them to the rack, and to compel them to command the Jewish king, Dhu Nuwas, to desist from persecuting the Christians in Najran.[14 ]

In 614, Tiberias was the site where during the final Jewish revolt against the Byzantine Empire, the Jewish population supported the Persian invaders; the Christians were massacred and the churches destroyed. In 628 the Byzantium army retook Tiberias and the slaughter of the Christians was reciprocated with a slaughter of the Jews.

Middle Ages

In 636 CE Tiberias was the regional capital until Bet Shean took its place following the Rashidun conquest. The Caliphate allowed 70 Jewish families from Tiberias to form the core of a renewed Jewish presence in Jerusalem and the importance of Tiberias to Jewish life declined.[9] The caliphs of the Umayyad Dynasty built one of its square-plan palaces on the waterfront to the north of Tiberias, at Khirbet al-Minya. Tiberias was revitalised in 749 after Bet Shean was destroyed in an earthquake.[9] Jewish scholarship flourished from the beginning of the 8th century to the end of the 10th., when the oral traditions of ancient Hebrew, still in use today, were codified. One of the leading members of the Tiberian masoretic community was Aaron ben Moses ben Asher, who refined the oral tradition now known as Tiberian Hebrew. Ben Asher is also credited with putting the finishing touches on the Aleppo Codex, the oldest existing manuscript of the Hebrew scriptures.

The Arab geographer al-Muqaddasi writing in 985, describes Tiberias as "the capital of Jordan Province, and a city in the Valley of Canaan...The town is narrow, hot in summer and unhealthy...There are here eight natural hot baths, where no fuel need be used, and numberless basins besides of boiling water. The mosque is large and fine, and stands in the market-place. Its floor is laid in pebbles, set on stone drums, placed close one to another." According to Muqaddesi those who suffered from scab, or ulcers, and other such diseases came to Tiberias to bath in the hot springs for three days. "Afterwards they dip in another spring which is cold, whereupon...they become cured."[15]

In 1033 Tiberias was again destroyed by an earthquake.[9]

Nasir-i Khusrou visited in 1047, and describes a city with a "strong wall" which begin at the border of the lake and goes all around the town except on the water-side. Furthermore, he describes

"numberless buildings erected in the very water, for the bed of the lake in this part is rock; and they have built pleasure houses that are supported on columns of marble, rising up out of the water. The lake is very full of fish. [] The Friday Mosque is in the midst of the town. At the gate of the mosque is a spring, over which they have built a hot bath. [] On the western side of the town is a mosque known as the Jasmine Mosque (Masjid-i-Yasmin). It is a fine building and in the middle part rises a great platform (dukkan), where they have their Mihrabs (or prayer-niches). All round those they have set jasmine-shrubs, from which the mosque derives its name."[16]

During the First Crusade it was occupied by the Franks, soon after the capture of Jerusalem and it was given in fief to Tancred, who made it his capital of the Principality of Galilee in the Kingdom of Jerusalem; the region was sometimes called the Principality of Tiberias, or the Tiberiad.[17] In 1099 the original site of the city was abandoned, and settlement shifted north to the present location.[9] St. Peter's Church, originally built by the Crusaders, is still standing today, although the building has been altered and reconstructed over the years.

In 1187 Saladin ordered his son al-Afdal to send an envoy to Count Raymond of Tripoli requesting safe passage through his fiefdom of Galilee and Tiberias. Raymond was obliged to grant the request under the terms of his treaty with Saladin. Saladin's force left Caesarea Philippi to engage the fighting force of the Knights Templar. The Templar force was destroyed in the encounter. Saladin then besieged Tiberias, after 6 days the town fell. On 4 July 1187 Saladin defeated the crusaders coming to relieve Tiberias at the Battle of Hattin 10 km outside the city.[18]

At the beginning of the twelfth century the Jewish community numbered about fifty families; and at that time the best manuscripts of the Torah were said to be found there.[14 ] Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, (Maimonides), a leading Jewish legal scholar, philosopher and physician of his period, died in 1204 and was buried in Tiberias, now one of the city's important pilgrimage sites.

Yakut, writing in the 1220s, described Tiberias as a small town, long and narrow. He also describes the "hot salt springs, over which they have built Hammams which use no fuel. Tabariyyah was first conquered by (the Arab commander) Shurahbil in the year 13 (634 AD) by capitulation; one half of the houses and churches were to belong to the Muslims, the other half to the Christians."[19]

In 1265 the Crusaders were driven from the city by the Mamluks, who ruled Tiberias until the Ottoman conquest in 1516.[9]

Ottoman era

A map of the Tiberias region in the 1870s by the Palestine Exploration Fund

As the Ottoman Empire expanded along the southern Mediterranean coast under sultan Selim I, the Reyes Católicos (Catholic Monarchs) began establishing Inquisition commissions. Many Conversos, (Marranos and Moriscos) and Sephardi Jews fled in fear to the Ottoman provinces, settling at first in Constantinople, Salonika, Sarajevo, Sofia and Anatolia. The Sultan encouraged them to settle in Palestine.[9][20][21] In 1558, a Portuguese-born marrano, Doña Gracia, was granted tax collecting rights in Tiberias and its surrounding villages by Suleiman the Magnificent. She envisaged the town becoming a refuge for Jews and obtained a permit to establish Jewish autonomy there.[22] In 1561 her nephew Joseph Nasi, Lord of Tiberias,[23] encouraged Jews to settle in Tiberias.[24] Securing a firman from the Sultan, he and Joseph ben Adruth rebuilt the city walls and lay the groundwork for a textile (silk) industry, planting mulberry trees and urging craftsmen to move there.[24] Plans were made for Jews to move from the Papal States, but when the Ottomans and the Republic of Venice went to war, the plan was abandoned.[24] No Christians or Jews were mentioned in the Ottoman registers of 1525, 1533, 1548, 1553 and 1572.[25] The registers in 1596 recorded the population to consist of 50 Muslim families and 4 bachelors.[26]

In 1624, when the Sultan recognized Fakhr-al-Din II as Lord of Arabistan (from Aleppo to the borders of Egypt),[27] the Druze leader made Tiberias his capital.[9]

In the 1720s, Dhaher al-Omar a Bedouin, fortified the town and signed an agreement with the neighboring Bedouin tribes to prevent looting. Accounts from that time tell of the great admiration people had for Dhaher, especially his war against bandits on the roads. Richard Pococke, who visited Tiberias in 1727, witnessed the building of a fort to the north of the city, and the strengthening of the old walls, attributing it to a dispute with the pasha (ruler) of Damascus.[28] In the 1740, Tiberias was under the autonomous rule of Dhaher. Under Dhaher's patronage, Jewish families were encouraged to settle in Tiberias.[29] He invited Chaim Abulafia of Smyrna to rebuild the Jewish community.[30] The synagogue he built still stands.[31][32] That year, the Pasha of Damascus launched a raid against Tiberias. The siege lasted 85 days, ending in the capture of the city.[9]

View of Tiberas, 1862

In 1775, Ahmed el-Jezzar "the Butcher", brought peace to the region with an iron fist.[9]

In 1780, many Polish Jews settled in the town.[30] It was during the 18th and 19th centuries that the town received an influx of rabbis who established the city as a center for Jewish learning.

Six hundred people, including nearly 500 Jews,[30] died in 1837 when the town was devastated by the Galilee earthquake.[9] An American expedition found Tiberias still in a state of disrepair in 1847/1848.[33]

In 1850 Tiberias contained three synagogues which served the Sephardi community, which consisted of 80 families, and the Ashkenazim, all Poles and Russians, numbering about 100 families. It was reported that the Jewish inhabitants of Tiberias enjoyed more peace and security than those of Safed.[30]

In 1863 it is recorded that the Christian and Muslim elements made up three-quarters of the population (2,000 to 4,000).[34] In 1901, the Jews of Tiberias numbered about 2,000 in a total population of 3,600.[14 ] By 1912 the population reached 6,500. This included 4,500 Jews, 1,600 Muslims and the rest Christians.[35]

British Mandate

Tiberias prior to 1946

Initially the relationship between Arabs and Jews in Tiberias was good, with few incidents occurring in the Nebi Musa riots and the disturbances throughout Palestine in 1929.[9]

The landscape of the modern town was shaped by the great flood of Nov. 11, 1934. Deforestation on the slopes above the town combined with the fact that the city had been built as a series of closely-packed houses and buildings - usually sharing walls - built in narrow roads paralleling and closely hugging the shore of the lake. Flood waters carrying mud, stones, and boulders rushed down the slopes and filled the streets and buildings with water so rapidly that many people did not have time to escape, The loss of life and property was great. The city rebuilt on the slopes and the British Mandatory government planted the Scottish Forest on the slopes above the town to hold the soil and prevent similar disasters from recurring. A new seawall was constructed, moving the shoreline several yards out form the former shore.[36][37]

In October 1938 Arab militants murdered 20 Jews in Tiberias during the 1936–1939 Arab revolt in Palestine.[38]

The population of Tiberias was recorded by the British authorities as follows:

  • 1922: 4427 Jews, 2096 Muslims, 422 Christians, 5 others [39]
  • 1931: 5381 Jews, 2645 Muslims, 565 Christians, 10 others [40]
  • 1945 : 6000 Jews, 4540 Muslims, 760 Christians, 10 others [41]

1948 Arab-Israeli War

Between the April 8-9, 1948, sporadic shooting broke out between the Jewish and Arab neighbourhoods of Tiberias. On April 10, the Haganah launched a mortar barrage, killing some Arab residents.[42] The local National Committee refused the offer of the Arab Liberation Army to take over defense of the city, but a small contingent of outside irregulars moved in.[42] During April 10-17, the Haganah attacked the city and refused to negotiate a truce, while the British refused to intervene.[42] The Arab population (6,000 residents or 47.5% of the population) was evacuated under British military protection on 18 April 1948.[42][43] No order to expel the population had been given to the Jewish forces and the evacuation seems to have surprised them.[42] Widespread looting of the Arab areas by the Jewish population had to be suppressed by force by the Haganah and Jewish police, who killed or injured several looters.[42]

Urban renewal and preservation

Ancient and medieval Tiberias was destroyed by a series of devastating earthquakes, and much of what was built after the major earthquake of 1837 was destroyed or badly damaged in the great flood of 1934. Houses in the newer parts of town, uphill from the waterfront, survived. Urban renewal of the old occupied area along the lakefront in the 1960s removed most of the residential buildings in the area. In their place stand a waterfront promenade, open parkland, shopping streets, restaurants, and modern hotels. Carefully preserved were several churches, including one with foundations dating from the Crusader period, the city's two Ottoman-era mosques, and the several Ancient synagogues of Tiberias. All of the town's characteristic old houses, masonry-built of the local black basalt with white limestone windows and trim, are officially protected from demolition. They stand on the rising ground uphill from the flat land of the old center city on the waterfront. Also preserved are parts of the ancient wall, the Ottoman-era citadel, and several nineteenth century hotels, and Christian pilgrim hostels, convents, and schools.

The town retains two historic mosques, one on the waterfront promenade, and another larger one that is now boarded up. The masonry of both minarets has been carefully restored. In retaliation for the Arab attack on the Tomb of Joseph in Nablus, a group of Israeli right-wing extremists attempted to torch one of the old mosques.[44][45]


Beachfront of modern Tiberias

Tiberias has been severely damaged by earthquakes since antiquity. Earthquakes are known to have occurred in 30, 33, 115, 306, 363, 419, 447, 631-2 (aftershocks continued for a month) 1033, 1182, 1202, 1546, 1759, 1837, 1927 and 1943.[46] See Galilee earthquake of 1837, Galilee earthquake of 363, and Near East earthquake of 1759.


A 2,000 year-old Roman theatre was discovered 15 meters below ground near Mount Bernike in the Tiberias hills. It seated over 7,000 people.[47] Excavations on the shore unearthed a rare coin with the image of Jesus on one side and the Greek words "Jesus the Messiah King of Kings" on the other. It belongs to a series of coins issued in Constantinople to commemorate the First Millennium of Jesus' birth. Such coins have surfaced in neighboring countries, such as Turkey, but this is the first one found in Israel. It is believed to have been brought to Tiberias by Christian pilgrims.[48]


Hapoel Tiberias represented the city in the top division of football for several seasons in the 1960s and 1980s, but eventually dropped into the regional leagues and folded due to financial difficulties. Following Hapoel's demise, a new club, Ironi Tiberias, was established, which currently plays in Liga Alef. 6 Nations Championship and Heineken Cup winner Jamie Heaslip was born in Tiberias.

Twin cities

See also


  1. ^ "Table 3 - Population of Localities Numbering Above 1,000 Residents and Other Rural Population". Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. 2008-06-30. Retrieved 2008-10-18.  
  2. ^ a b Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews XVIII.2.3
  3. ^ Jewish Encyclopedia: Tiberias
  4. ^ a b Israel Travel: Tiberias, Ha'aretz
  5. ^ Jewish Encyclopedia
  6. ^ Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Megillah 5b
  7. ^ Josephus, Flavius The Jewish Wars Translator William Whiston, Book 4 chapter 1 para 3
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Mercer Dictionary of the Bible Edited by Watson E. Mills, Roger Aubrey Bullard, Mercer University Press, (1998) ISBN 0865543739 p 917
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Winter, Dave (1999) Israel Handbook: With the Palestinian Authority Areas Footprint Travel Guides, ISBN 1900949482, pp 660-661
  10. ^ Crossan, John Dominic (1999) Birth of Christianity: Discovering What Happened in the Years Immediately After the Execution of Christ Continuum International Publishing Group, ISBN 0567086682 p 232
  11. ^ The Land and the Book: Or, Biblical Illustrations Drawn from the Manners and Customs, the Scenes and Scenery, of the Holy Land By William McClure Thomson Published by Harper & brothers, (1860) p 72
  12. ^ Safrai Zeev (1994) The Economy of Roman Palestine Routledge, ISBN 041510243X p 199
  13. ^ a b c Biblical Researches in Palestine, Mount Sinai and Arabia Petraea: A Journal of Travels in the Year 1838 By Edward Robinson, Eli Smith Published by Crocker & Brewster, 1841 p 269
  14. ^ a b c Jewish Encyclopedia: Tiberias
  15. ^ Muk. p.161 and 185, quoted in Le Strange, Guy: Palestine under the Moslems. London, 1890, p. 334-7
  16. ^ Le Strange, Guy: Palestine under the Moslems. London, 1890. p. 336-7
  17. ^ Richard, Jean (1999) The Crusades c. 1071-c 1291, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-62369-3 p 71
  18. ^ Wilson, John Francis. (2004) Caesarea Philippi: Banias, the Lost City of Pan I.B.Tauris, ISBN 1850434409 p 148
  19. ^ Le Strange, Guy: Palestine under the Moslems. London, 1890. p. 340
  20. ^ Toby Green (2007) Inquisition; The Reign of Fear Macmillan Press ISBN 978-1-4050-8873-2 pp xv-xix
  21. ^ Sephardic Contributions to the Development of the State of Israel, Shelomo Alfassá
  22. ^ Schaick, Tzvi. Who is Dona Gracia?, The House of Dona Gracia Museum.
  23. ^ Naomi E. Pasachoff, Robert J. Littman, A Concise History of the Jewish People, Lanham, Rowman & Littlefield, 2005 , p.163
  24. ^ a b c Benjamin Lee Gordon, New Judea: Jewish Life in Modern Palestine and Egypt, Manchester, New Hampshire, Ayer Publishing, 1977, p.209
  25. ^ Lewis, Bernard (1954), Studies in the Ottoman archives--I, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Vol. 16, pp 469-501.
  26. ^ Hütteroth, Wolf-Dieter and Kamal Abdulfattah (1977), Historical Geography of Palestine, Transjordan and Southern Syria in the Late 16th Century. Erlanger Geographische Arbeiten, Sonderband 5. Erlangen, Germany: Vorstand der Fränkischen Geographischen Gesellschaft. p. 188.
  27. ^ The Druze of the Levant
  28. ^ Richard Pococke: A General Collection of the Best and Most Interesting Voyages and Travels in All Parts of the World: Many of which are Now First Translated Into English ; Digested on a New Plan By John Pinkerton by Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme, 1811A Description of the East and Some other Countries, p. 460
  29. ^ Moammar, Tawfiq (1990), Zahir Al Omar, Al Hakim Printing Press, Nazareth, page 70
  30. ^ a b c d Joseph Schwarz. Descriptive Geography and Brief Historical Sketch of Palestine, 1850
  31. ^ The Jews in Palestine in the eighteenth century: under the patronage of the Istanbul Committee of Officials for Palestine, Y. Barnay, translated by Naomi Goldblum, University of Alabama Press, 1992, p. 15, 16
  32. ^ The Jews: their history, culture, and religion, Louis Finkelstein, Edition: 3 Harper, New York, 1960, p. 659
  33. ^ Narrative of the United States' Expedition to the River Jordan and the Dead Sea By William Francis Lynch, Lee and Blanchard, (1850) p. 154
  34. ^ Smith, William (1863) A Dictionary of the Bible: Comprising Its Antiquities, Biography, and Natural History Little, Brown, p 149
  35. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia: Tiberias
  36. ^ Mandated landscape: British imperial rule in Palestine, 1929-1948, Roza El-Eini, Routledge, 2006p. 250
  37. ^ The Changing Land: Between the Jordan and the Sea: Aerial Photographs from 1917 to the Present, Benjamin Z. Kedar, Wayne State University Press, 2000, p. 198
  38. ^ "United Nations Information System on the Question of Palestine" (.JPG). United Nations Information System on the Question of Palestine. Retrieved 2007-11-29.  
  39. ^ 1922 census
  40. ^ 1931 census
  41. ^ Village Statistics, 1945
  42. ^ a b c d e f Benny Morris (2004) p183-185
  43. ^ Harry Levin, 'Jerusalem Embattled - A diary of a city under siege.' Cassel, 1997. ISBN 0 304 33765 X. Page 81: ' Extraordinary news from Tiberias. The whole Arab population has fled. Last night the Haganah blew up the Arab bands' headquarters there; this morning the Jews woke up to see a panic flight in progress. By tonight not one of the 6,000 Arabs remained.' (19 April).
  44. ^ "Middle East Report 217: Anatomy of Another Rebellion, by Rema Hammami and Salim Tamari". Retrieved 2009-06-18.  
  45. ^ "In Nablus, the Tomb of Joseph was ransacked and set on fire (...) , and in retaliation a lone group twice attempted to torch an old, nonfunctioning mosque in the center of Tiberias" - from "H. CON. RES. 150, Expressing the sense of Congress regarding the protection of religious sites and the freedom of access and worship", adopted by the United States House of Representatives, April 10, 2003, resolution submitted by Mr. Wilson of South Carolina for himself and many others [1]
  46. ^ A crack in the earth: a journey up Israel's Rift Valley By Haim Watzman, Macmillan, 2007, p. 161
  47. ^ 2,000 year-old amphitheater
  48. ^ Jesus coins
  49. ^ Choose your family, Haaretz

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Asia : Middle East : Israel : Tiberias

Tiberias (Hebrew Teveriyah טבריה) 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. During this time Tiberias became one of the Jewish Four Holy Cities, along with Jerusalem, Hebron, and Safed.

  • Hamath Tiberias National Park [1]
  • The Galilee Experience [2], located near the main wharf
  • The Jordan river baptismal site. A holy site not to be missed. Bring swim wear and a robe for the baptismal. An excellent restaurant is on premises "tmarim" palms fusing French cooking techniques with local Cannanite ingredients. Wonderful!
  • Go kayaking on the Jordan river (further down the road from the Baptismal site)
  • 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 the desert for drinking by humans...
  • Go 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.
  • Old Tveria restaurant in the center is a really gourmet institution with reasonable prices (much cheaper than comprable restaurants in Tel Aviv). Try their filet mignon or Beef Strogonoff!! An old British pub ambiance with outdoor terrace.
  • The Scottish House hotel. [3]. An upscale boutique hotel, right at the center and steps from the water. Best hotel in town, with restored British decor and fancy tea time tradition.
  • Holiday Inn Tiberias, Tel: 972-3-5390808, [4]. Holiday Inn Tiberias is situated away from the clamor of the city, surrounded by emerald lawns and naturally enchanting areas. Connect with the energy of nature by lounging in the sitting areas on the lawn, immersing in the exclusively natural water at the Tiberias Hot Springs, sitting in the quiet reading areas and participating in the yoga and shiatsu classes. Located on the shores of the Sea of Galilee among spectacular gardens on the Tiberias promenade, Holiday Inn offers a paradise of tranquility and beauty. The hotel is part of a complex that includes the Tiberias Hot Springs Spa, the Hamat Tiberias National Park and a 500-meter beach with direct access to swimming and sailing facilities.
  • The official H-I hostel, [5]. is located in the center of town, with a price of aprox. 18$ for one person a night.
  • Backpacker Hostels in the Sea of Galilee area, [6]
  • Prima Hotel (Prima Tiberias Hotel), 1 Elhadif Street, 04-6791166 (fax: 04-8559939), [7].  edit
  • Rimonim Galei Kinnereth Hotel (Rimonim Galei Kinnereth Hotel), 1 Eliezer Kaplan Street, Sea of Galilee, 057-9381453 (fax: 04-6790260), [8]. The Rimonim Galei Kinnereth Hotel on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, between sprawling lawns and a private beach, offers its guests an experience combining vacation and relaxation.  edit
  • Royal Plaza Hotel, Ganei Menorah Blvd, [9]. The Royal Plaza hotel is situated just outside the town of Tiberias. There is a free public beach adjacent to the hotel and the Young Tiberias Spa is within walking distance.  edit
  • Tulip Inn Sea of Galilee Hotel (Tulip Inn Sea of Galilee Hotel), 057-9378348, [10]. checkin: 3:00PM; checkout: 11:00AM. Tulip Inn Sea of Galilee is a pastoral resort village boasting the most tranquil of surroundings, the highest standards of hospitality, and service characterized by warmth and love.  edit

Many other cheap hotels can be found across the shore and on the main street. If you don't have a booked reservation, consult any taxi driver (if you want to be ripped off).

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

TIBERIAS, a town on the western shore of the sea of Galilee (to which it gives its modern Arabic name, Bahr Tubariya, i.e. Sea of Tiberias). It has a population of about 4000, more than half of whom are Jews (principally Polish immigrants). It stands in a fertile but fever-stricken strip of plain between the Galilee hills and the sea-shore. It is the seat of a l aimmakam or sub-governor, subordinate to the governor of 'Akka. There are Latin and Greek hospices here, as well as an important mission, with hospital and schools, under the United Free Church of Scotland. The pre-Herodian history of the city is not certain. There is a rabbinical tradition that it stands on the site of a city called Rakka, but this is wholly imaginary. Josephus (Ant. xviii. 2, 3) describes the building of Tiberias by Herod Antipas near a village called Emmaus, where are hot springs. This is probably the Hammath of Jos. xix. 35. The probability is that Herod built an entirely new city; in fact, the circumstance that it was necessary to disturb an ancient graveyard proves that there were here no buildings previously. The graveyard was probably the cemetery of Hammath. Owing to this necessity Herod had a difficulty in peopling his city, and, indeed, was compelled to use force (Jos. Ant., loc. cit.) to cause any but the dregs of the populace to incur defilement by living in a place thus unclean. On this account Tiberias was long regarded with aversion by Jews, but after the fall of Jerusalem it was settled by them and rose to be the chief centre of rabbinic learning.

The building of the city falls between A.D. 16 and A.D. 22. It was named in honour of the emperor Tiberius, and rapidly increased in luxury and art, on entirely Greek models. Probably because it was so completely exotic in character it is passed over in almost total silence in the Gospels - the city (as opposed to the lake) is mentioned but once, as the place from which came boats with sight-seers to the scene of the feeding the five thousand, John vi. 23. There is no reason to suppose that Christ ever visited it. The city surrendered to Vespasian, who restored it to Agrippa. It now became a famous rabbinic school. Here lived Rabbi Judah ha k-I adosh, editor of the Mishnah; here was edited the Jerusalem Talmud, and here are the tombs of Rabbi Aqiba and Maimonides. Christianity never succeeded in establishing itself here in the Byzantine period, though there was a bishopric of Tiberias, and a church built by Constantine. In 637 the Arabs captured the town. The crusaders under Tancred retook it, but lost it to Saladin in 1187. In the 16th century the city was rebuilt by Joseph ben Ardut, subvented by Dona Gracia and Sultan Suleiman. An attempt was made to introduce the silk industry. In the 18th century it was fortified and occupied by the famous independent sheikh Dhahir el-Amir.

Tiberias is notoriously dirty and proverbial for its fleas, whose king is said by the Arabs to hold his court here. Most of the town was ruined by the earthquake of 1837. The most interesting buildings are the ruins of a fortress, perhaps Herodian, south of the town, and an ancient synagogue on the sea-coast. The hot springs mentioned by Josephus (and also by Pliny) are about half an hour's journey to the south. (R. A. S. M.)

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From the Emperor Tiberius

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  1. a town on the Sea of Galilee in Israel

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Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki

A city, the modern Tubarich, on the western shore of the Sea of Tiberias. It is said to have been founded by Herod Antipas (A.D. 16), on the site of the ruins of an older city called Rakkath, and to have been thus named by him after the Emperor Tiberius. It is mentioned only three times in the history of Jesus: (Jn 6:1,Jn 6:23; Jn 21:1).

In 1837 about one-half of the inhabitants perished by an earthquake. "We do not read that our Lord ever entered this city. The reason of this is probably to be found in the fact that it was practically a heathen city, though standing upon Jewish soil. Herod, its founder, had brought together the arts of Greece, the idolatry of Rome, and the gross lewdness of Asia. There were in it a theatre for the performance of comedies, a forum, a stadium, a palace roofed with gold in imitation of those in Italy, statues of the Roman gods, and busts of the deified emperors. He who was not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel might well hold himself aloof from such scenes as these" (Manning's Those Holy Fields).

After the fall of Jerusalem (A.D. 70), Tiberias became one of the chief residences of the Jews in Palestine. It was for more than three hundred years their metropolis. From about A.D. 150 the Sanhedrin settled here, and established rabbinical schools, which rose to great celebrity. Here the Jerusalem (or Palestinian) Talmud was compiled about the beginning of the fifth century. To this same rabbinical school also we are indebted for the Masora, a "body of traditions which transmitted the readings of the Hebrew text of the Old Testament, and preserved, by means of the vowel-system, the pronunciation of the Hebrew." In its original form, and in all manuscripts, the Hebrew is written without vowels; hence, when it ceased to be a spoken language, the importance of knowing what vowels to insert between the consonants. This is supplied by the Masora, and hence these vowels are called the "Masoretic vowel-points."

This entry includes text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.

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