Rosh Pina

December 2nd 2010

More than a mere stopover on the way to Tzfat, Rosh Pina, located in the Upper Galilee, is worthy of your full attention. Founded in the late 19th century under the aegis of Baron Edmund de Rothschild, Rosh Pina was originally an agricultural settlement (moshav) for approximately 30 religious Jewish families from Romania. Its name means cornerstone and, indeed, it is one of the oldest modern Jewish agricultural settlements in Israel.

Since its founding, Rosh Pina has changed its character fairly significantly. Today, Rosh Pina, home to just a few thousand people, is best known for upscale tourism. The small city is now packed with fashionable cafés, restaurants, intimate guesthouses and boutique hotels. Sitting on the slopes of Mt. Canaan, Rosh Pina affords a lovely view of the Hula Valley and parts of the Golan. With so many pleasing places to eat, shop and spend the night, Rosh Pina provides a convenient home base for exploring other local places of interest such as Tzfat, Tel Hatzor and the Korazim National Park. For those interested, guided tours on foot, bike, horseback and jeep can all be booked from Rosh Pina.

Start your visit at the House of Officials where you can watch a film about the history of Rosh Pina. Don’t miss the Baron’s Gardens, said to be modeled after the famous gardens of Versailles, France. Stroll around the older section of Rosh Pina and step into visionary art galleries. The cobblestone streets and original moshav homes have been preserved, giving visitors a sense of what life was like in Rosh Pina more than 100 years ago. Of further historical interest in the old part of the city is the house of Dr. Meir who was known for researching malaria, with which early settlers contended as swamp land was being drained. The old cemetery holds the graves of the original Romanian founders. Two other buildings of interest in the old city include the synagogue and the former school building, noteworthy for being the second oldest Hebrew school building in Israel.

There is a Jewish mystical tradition that when the Messiah arrives to redeem the Jewish people, his first appearance will be in Rosh Pina.