24 Facts About Tiberias


Tiberias is an Israeli city on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee.

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Tiberias was founded circa 20 CE by Herod Antipas and was named after Roman emperor Tiberius.

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Tiberias flourished during the early Islamic period, when it served as the capital of Jund al-Urdunn and became a multi-cultural trading center.

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In early modern times, Tiberias was a mixed city; under British rule it had a majority Jewish population, but with a significant Arab community.

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Today, Tiberias is an important tourist center due to its proximity to the Sea of Galilee and religious sanctity to Judaism and Christianity.

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Jewish tradition holds that Tiberias was built on the site of the ancient Israelite village of Rakkath or Rakkat, first mentioned in the Book of Joshua.

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Tiberias was founded sometime around 20 CE in the Herodian Tetrarchy of Galilee and Peraea by the Roman client king Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great.

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Tiberias was at first a strictly pagan city, but later became populated mainly by Jews, with its growing spiritual and religious status exerting a strong influence on balneological practices.

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Tiberias is mentioned in John 6:23 as the location from which boats had sailed to the opposite, eastern side of the Sea of Galilee.

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In light of this, a letter of Syriac bishop Simeon of Beth Arsham urged the Christians of Palaestina 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.

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In 614, Tiberias was the site where, during the final Jewish revolt against the Byzantine Empire, parts of the Jewish population supported the Persian invaders; the Jewish rebels were financed by Benjamin of Tiberias, a man of immense wealth; according to Christian sources, during the revolt Christians were massacred and churches destroyed.

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Tiberias was revitalised in 749, after Bet Shean was destroyed in an earthquake.

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Tiberias was plagued by incursions by the radical Shi'ite Qarmatians at the beginning of the tenth century.

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Tiberias's tomb is one of the city's important pilgrimage sites.

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Tiberias described the village there, in which he said there were "ten or twelve" Muslim households.

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Tiberias's envisaged the town becoming a refuge for Jews and obtained a permit to establish Jewish autonomy there.

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Tiberias invited Rabbi Chaim Abulafia of Smyrna to rebuild the Jewish community.

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An essay written by Rabbi Joseph Schwarz in 1850 noted that "Tiberias Jews suffered the least" during an Arab rebellion which took place in 1834.

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Rabbi Haim Shmuel Hacohen Konorti, born in Spain in 1792, settled in Tiberias at the age of 45 and was a driving force in the restoration of the city.

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In 1850, Tiberias contained three synagogues which served the Sephardi community, which consisted of 80 families, and the Ashkenazim, numbering about 100 families.

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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.

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In 2004, excavations in Tiberias conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority uncovered a structure dating to the 3rd century CE that may have been the seat of the Sanhedrin.

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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.

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Tiberias Marathon is an annual road race held along the Sea of Galilee in Israel with a field in recent years of approximately 1000 competitors.

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