Art Gallery Street Safed

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Yosef Caro / Alkabetz Street
Art Gallery Street Safed
רח’ יוסף קארו / רח’ אלקבץ צפת
Other Names:
Rechov Alkabetz, Rechov Yosef Caro, Art Street, Gallery Street, Artist St., Artist Shuk of Tzfas
Commercial Street for Tzfat’s Art and Crafts where tourists often shop for Judaica and other artwork.

The Art Gallery Street of Tzfat, Yosef Caro/Alkabetz Street, is one of the most popular sites for tourists who can combine their exploration of Tzfat’s historical sites with some great shopping.


[edit] History

When Jews began to return to Tzfat after the Spanish Expulsion, they joined the existing Jewish community whose homes were located above the ancient Tzfat cemetery on the slopes of the mountainside. As more Jews moved into Tzfat the neighborhood expanded up the hill in the direction of the Metzuda. The line which marked the neighborhood’s upper border was the Yosef Caro/Alkabetz Street.

Ashkanazi Jews whose immigration from Eastern Europe began in the mid 1700's, established their neighborhoods further up the hillside, on the eastern side of Yosef Caro / Alkabetz Street. Yosef Caro / Alkabetz Street itself was a commercial street where traveling merchants peddled their wares.

[edit] Street Name

The street runs for approximately 500 meters in the Old City, from Rehov HaAri -- HaAri Street -- at its northern tip towards the Ashtam Building at its southern edge. The street is formally named “Rehov Alkabetz” -- Alkabetz Street -- along its northern half and “Rehov Yosef Caro” along its southern half. There is no marker that delineates the point where the name changes.

[edit] Renovations

Until the 1980's the street was comprised of mostly-abandoned homes and buildings. However, in the late 1980's gallery and art shops began to open along the road as artists and gallery owners realized that tourists wanted spend their time in the area where they could visit the city’s historical and religious sites. A cycle was created whereby the increasing popularity of the shops brought in more tourists which resulted in new shops being opened.

[edit] Popular Art Center

Today tourists from throughout the world come to Tzfat to take advantage of the wide variety of art, crafts and Judaica available. Some of the shops and galleries exhibit original work of Tzfat artists while others represent works of Israeli artists who don’t live in Tzfat.

[edit] Art Exhibits

The works exhibited along Yosef Caro/Alkabetz street include oils and watercolors, collages, mosaics, weaving, silverwork, ceramics, metalwork, sculptures and much more. Some of the artwork is devoted to Jewish ritual objects such as mezuzza covers, menorahs, seder plates, candlesticks and tallises. There are also many artists who paint and exhibit scenes with Jewish themes, Israel themes, scenic Tzfat and Israel views and even abstract art.

[edit] Kabbalah Art

The worldwide interest in Kabbalah study has created a market for Kabbalah art. Tzfat galleries exhibit many different types of Kabbalah-themed paintings, jewelry and Judaica. Some of these works come from Safed artists who combine their studies of Kabbalah with their art while others are created by artists who live outside of Tzfat and sold in Tzfat.

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