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Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Safed Metzuda

I've lived in Safed for 28 years and have climbed to the Metzuda more times than I can count, but today I saw it from a new angle and caught a glimpse of what it must have looked like to travelers who were criss-crossing the region hundreds of years ago along their trade routes.

The Metzuda is a Crusader Castle -- according to historians, it's the largest Crusader fortress built anywhere in the Middle East. The Crusaders secured their hold on the Upper Galilee with this fortress (there's another one, Nimrod's Castle, in Golan Heights and at least one that I know of in Lebanon, in addition to the massive complex in Akko/Acre). It's so high that, when the Mamlukes captured it from the Crusaders in 1266, they built a 60-meter tower that would allow them to see as far as Akko -- and would, as one historian pointed out, enable the Crusaders who were still in Akko to see the Mamlukes and mull over what was coming.)

The Metzuda is a favorite walking spot for me when I take the dogs for a walk -- it's quiet, has a bit of nature and best of all, is fairly unpopulated by people who would be scared by the dogs. The dogs amble along and I get a bit of exercise as well.

Today I happened to be on a different side of the city and looked up (wasn't I just talking about the need to keep my eyes open?) and saw the metzuda from a whole new perspective. The trees block it a bit in the photos but if you look closely you can see the original walls of the Crusader's fortress (and if you can't, you'll just have to come to Tzfat to see it). 


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