The city of Tiberias was founded in the years 17-22 AD, on the ruins of the Biblical Rakkath, to the north of the modern Tiberias hot baths by Herod Antipater, the first-born son of Herod the Great, 17-22 AD. From its first days this was a city closely resembling a typical Greek polis with its own council and jurisdiction area. It also was allowed to legislate laws and mint coins. Another typical characteristic was the freedom of religion and trade.
The location was selected because the existing settlements along the coast of the Sea of Galilee were settled mainly by Jewish fishermen and craftsmen, as well as due to its proximity to the international roads.
Tiberias boundaries included the Lower Galilee and bordered the Beth Shean region in the south, Sussita in the east, and Tzipori in the west. At its south lay the city of Hamath, with its famous sulfur baths. In the course of time Tiberias expanded southward and soon the two cities became one, although Tiberias walls did not encircle Hamath. Herod Antipater encountered serious difficulties to populate his newly established city as the area was littered with graves and the Jews refused to settle in it fearing defilement.
In its history the city experienced many ups and downs.
In the year 1900 the city’s population was 4,000 residents, 2,600 of them Jews.
Before the War of Independence in 1948 the population exceeded 11,000 residents, 7,000 of them Jews.
At first the Jews dwelled only in the Old City, but in 1912 the first Jewish quarter located outside the city walls was established – the “Achva” neighborhood, located on the main road leading southwards from the old city. The year 1920 saw the foundation of “Kiryat Shmuel”, on the mountain slope 100 meters above the old city. The new city was planned to be spacious and featured high building level.
On 14.5.1934 the city was struck by a colossal flood. During the Great Arab Rebellion (1936-1939) the British opened roads that crossed the Old City by demolishing historic buildings and textures. Houses on the lake’s shore also were demolished in favor of a new promenade. The ancient city walls lost their urban significance and became a nuisance to the massive destruction and development trend in the historic areas.
Tiberias was the first city with mixed population when it was conquered during the War of Independence (16-18 of April, 1948) and established an independent Jewish government. The Arab dwellers had to abandon it and were not allowed to return.
In the 1950 Tiberias population swelled with the arrival of many new repatriates, who were housed, temporarily, in transit camps built above the Old City at an altitude of app. 400 meters on the mountain (the “barracks). The local economy in the present is based on tourism, industry, agricultural work in the Jordan Valley farms and fishing.
Consultation in the areas of planning and conservation referring the master plan – city of Tiberias.
Preparation of surveys for all the city’s neighborhoods for the purpose of identifying conservation-designated buildings and sites.
Defining various conservation compounds.
Instructions regarding documentation and conservation.
Proposals for the restoration in the Old City.
Chief Planner: Mansfeld Kehat Architects
Ordering Client: Ministry of the Interior – Planning Department