Safed Israel Parks and Gardens

| April 21, 2013 | 0 Comments
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Citadel Park, Safed

Citadel Park, Safed

Walking Through Metzuda Park (Photo: sobolevnrm, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Within walking distance from the city center and the highest point in Safed, the Citadel Park offers a breathtaking view, as well as an archeological park and ideal site for family picnics and barbecues. Take a deep breath from the summit, and survey Mount Meron, Mount Tabor, and the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee). When you circumvent the park you can get a feeling of awe reflecting on all the people who lost their lives fighting for this hill over many centuries, including Jewish fighters who fell in the battle for the Metzuda in the 1948 War of Independence. The park’s name is derived from the high pyramidal memorial in the park to the fallen soldiers from the fierce battle and from the forts built there under earlier occupiers.

Metzuda Park, Safed, Israel

Metzuda Park (Photo: גליה דוידסון, CC BY 2.5)

History of Citadel Park in Safed

From earliest history, any army possessing the Citadel peak possessed enormous strategic military advantage—due to its height, and its geographical position. In the days of the Roman Empire, the Citadel peak as we know it today was the site of a chain of outposts set up on prominent hills throughout Judea, Samaria, and the Galilee, where fires were lit on “Rosh Chodesh,” the first day of a new month in the Jewish calendar. Soon the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem, or the site of the Sanhedrin after the destruction of the Temple, could announce the correct date to Jewish communities throughout the world. In the Twelfth Century the Crusaders built a castle here. Historical records reveal a moat was built around the castle, and it is believed that Jerusalem Street, site of the present city hall, was where it was located. The peak changed occupation several times before the Mameluke leader Baybars erected the present round tower.

Children’s Playgrounds in Safed

Families can get plenty of opportunity to relax in several other parks around Safed. The three listed here are all at different corners of the city:

  1. The Gan Ha’Ir (municipal park) on the corner of Jerusalem and Ari Streets is shaded, with benches for Mom and Dad as well as playground equipment.

  2. Halfway along Alkabetz St. in the Old City is a modern playground, with climbing frames and slides. Seating is provided in a nearby mini-ampitheater.

  3. At the “Saraya” (Wolfson Center) you can relax on the grass and benches, with trees providing shade.

Sculpture Garden

Next door to the Rimon Inn on Tet Zayin Street, the Ziffer Sculpture Garden is connected with the “Saraya” by Ha’Nassi Street. To visit the Halvani Sculpture Park you will probably need a car. It is high above the city, off the Ha’Galil Road, accessed via the four-way junction in Derech Ha’Atzmaut in the approach to the city. If you like sculptures, it is worth a visit.

Many of Safed accommodation places are on Mount Canaan in the approach to the city center. Near the “shuk” (market) in Jabotinsky Street is a small park which you can access via steps on the ascent to Mount Canaan. The lively climb, great view and views of nature will make your hike worthwhile.

Wadi Amud

“Wadi” is Hebrew for “valley,” and “Amud” the name for a large stone pillar along the trail. If you have the time and energy, a trip on the Wadi Amud trail will be very rewarding. The trail commences on the highway opposite the ancient Jewish cemetery, near the gravesite of Rabbi Pinchas Ben Yair, a well-known Talmudic Rabbi. It is part of the “Israel Trail,” a continuous hiking trail skirting the whole length of the country. Spring is the ideal time for hiking here with all Israel’s famous wildflowers in full bloom. Summer and other seasons are fine too; just make sure you have sun protection and plenty of drinking water. Sometimes along the trail, hikers can spot butterflies, vultures, hawks, turtles, wild boar and small mammals—not to mention Arab shepherds with flocks of cows and goats. Several caves are located in the area. Remnants of wool mills erected by early settlers along the trail also create interest.

Safed Israel Parks and Gardens: Did You Know?

The town of Birya, virtually a suburb of Safed, approached via the Ha’Galil Road, is adjacent to a scenic Jewish National Fund forest. In the nearby town of Amuka is the burial place of the great sage Rabbi Yonason ben Uziel. In order to repent for having remained unmarried his entire life, the sage is reputed to help anyone praying sincerely at his gravesite to find their true mate within a year.

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Category: Parks, Safed

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