Tiberias is located on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee, known in Hebrew as “the Kinneret”. It is blessed with a temperate climate, human warmth and a wealth of cultural richness. In Tiberias itself, as well as in the surrounding areas, there is an abundance of tourist locations, historical sites and the source of legends related to the three monotheistic religions.
Tiberias is blessed with unique natural resources due to the sweet waters of the Kinneret and the warm waters of “Tiberias Springs”, the therapeutic qualities of which are renowned throughout the World. Within the Town’s jurisdiction there is a strip of beach 7.7 Km long with its total area of jurisdiction being 10,846 Dunam, (2,712 acres), with a population of some 45,000 souls.
Tiberias is named after the Emperor Tiberius. It was founded by Herod Antipas, son of King Herod, in the year 20 AD, and was designated as his Capital City. In 61 AD Tiberias was annexed to Agrippa II’s Kingdom. Once the Town had passed under Roman rule, in 100 AD, it enjoyed the prosperity which marked the whole Empire.
In the middle of the 2nd century AD, after the Bar-Kokhba uprising, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai resanctified the Town after its graveyards had been defiled, thereby turning it into a seat of scholars. In 1877, during the Ottoman period, the Town was granted the status of a Municipality. On 15.4.1948 It was the first among mixed-population towns to be liberated during the War of Independence, and Israeli rule took over. Tradition has it that in the Town there are the graves of the Nation’s founding fathers, “the Wise Men”, as well as historical sites which are landmarks in the chronicles of Eretz-Israel.
It was in Tiberias that Rabbi Yohanan founded the “Great Academy” (Beit Midrash Gadol). Traditionally, it is believed that in this Institution, often mentioned in the literature of the Elders, most of the Eretz-Israel Talmud had been edited, (the Jerusalem Talmud). Once Tiberias had become the capital of the Jewish People in Israel and the Diaspora, it enjoyed a prolonged period of properity. The scholars of Tiberias turned it into a town of Torah and Knowledge.
In the 6th century, the Eretz-Israel Yeshiva was founded in Tiberias. It inherited the Sanhedrin leadership. During that period, - the period of Geniuses (Geonim), - poets’ and debaters’ colleges flourished in Tiberias alongside the writers and scribes. The Hebrew method of punctuation, customary and in use to this day – “the Tiberias punctuation”, - is named after the Town.
At present, modern Tiberias offers an abundance of Tourist attractions, a variety of archeological and historical sites, as well as a wide selection of cultural events.