Safed (Tzfat) is a city in the Northern District of Israel. Located at an elevation of
900 metres, Safed is the highest city in the Galilee and in Israel. Due to its high elevation,
Safed experiences warm summers and cold, often snowy, winters.
Safed (Hebrew: Tsfat, Ashkenazi: Tzfas, Biblical: Ṣǝp̄aṯ; Arabic: Ṣafad) is a city in the
Northern District of Israel. Located at an elevation of 900 metres (2,953 ft), Safed is the
highest city in the Galilee and in Israel.
Due to its high elevation, Safed experiences warm summers and cold, often snowy, winters.
Safed has been identified with Sepph, a fortified town in the Upper Galilee mentioned in
the writings of the Roman-Jewish historian Josephus.
The Jerusalem Talmud mentions it as one of five elevated spots where fires were lit to
announce the New Moon and festivals during the Second Temple period. In the 12th
century CE Safed was a fortified city in the Crusaders' Kingdom of Jerusalem,
known to them as Saphet. The Mamluk Sultan Baibars captured the city in 1266 and
appointed a governor to take charge of the fortress. The city also became the
administrative centre of Mamlakat Safad, a province in Mamluk Syria whose jurisdiction
included the Galilee and the lands up to Jenin. Under the Ottomans, Safed functioned as
the capital of the Safad Sanjak, which encompassed much of the Galilee and extended
to the Mediterranean coast.
Since the 16th century, Safed has been considered one of Judaism's Four Holy Cities,
along with Jerusalem, Hebron and Tiberias; since that time the city has remained
a centre of Kabbalah and Jewish mysticism.
Rabbi Isaac Luria introduced interest in the Kabbalah to the city in the 16th century.
Due to its mild climate and scenic views, Safed has become a popular holiday resort
frequented by Israelis and by foreign visitors. In 2017 it had a population of 35,276.