April 15th 2015
Jerusalem Street (Rechov Yerushalayim) forms the nerve center of Tzfat. It’s where the busy, modern city, the Old City and the Artists’ Quarter converge. Known in Israel as a “midrachov,” Jerusalem Street is a pedestrian mall, so you won’t find any dangerous or disruptive car traffic here. Moreover, the Tzfat midrachov is situated at the city’s mountainous peak, with the Old City and the Artists’ Quarter visible below.
All up and down the main shopping district of the street, you’ll find a variety of restaurants and coffee shops, frequented by both locals and tourists. In warmer weather, you can sip a refreshing drink or enjoy a meal outside while taking in the view of historic Mount Meron. In colder weather, step inside and experience the warmth and charm of the Bagdad Café.
On this colorful street, you’ll find local stores selling everything from fruits and vegetables to housewares, clothing, shoes, appliances, spices, health foods and souvenirs. Parking can be an issue on the midrachov, so it’s best to travel by taxi instead of trying to park a private car, especially during the summer season.
Dining options range from inexpensive pizza, falafel, schwarma and bagels to full table service restaurants that serve meat dishes. If it’s a panoramic view that you’re after, look for a restaurant that offers scenes of the Old City and the Artists’ Quarter as well as the mountains that surround Tzfat. On Saturday nights, after Shabbat, you might happen upon spontaneous street dancing in honor of the new moon.
Public bathrooms can be hard to locate in Tzfat overall, but there are two sets near the Midrachov. One is by the bridge on the right as you go up Jerusalem Street. The second set of restrooms is on the right at the top of the midrachov. Be prepared with single shekel coins to use the public facilities.
Just past City Hall is a small paved park with benches and shade trees, ideal for taking a small break in a beautiful setting. With its roots in mysticism, art and Israel’s early history, the midrachov in Tzfat is a visitor’s delight.