A little over 500 years ago, the expulsion of the Jews of Spain took place. After the expulsion and over a period of about 50 years, about 10,000 Jews from Spain emigrated to Safed and built Safed in the Spanish building style known to them. This special period is called the ‘golden age’ of Safed, which was a fascinating and central historical station in the cultural and traditional development of Jewish history.
In later periods, Safed died out.
The most known reason is the earthquake that struck Safed in 1837. It destroyed the city completely. Also, events of the First World War led to years of poverty, starvation, disease and deprivation. All these and other factors were a significant cause for some of the city's magnificent buildings to be buried deep in the earth. Parts of the newer Old City were built on top of these buried buildings.
The tunnels you are visiting are the result of the exposure of ancient rooms and water cisterns dating back to the 16th century which were covered underground for about 100 years. The tunnels connect to the ‘Beit Hakahal’ area- the remains of an ancient neighborhood from the 16th century.
The archaeological exposure of the tunnels and buildings in ‘Beit HaKahal’ was carried out over the years with the assistance of thousands of young Jewish volunteers from Israel and abroad who operated as part of the educational volunteer programs run by ‘Livnot U’Lehibanot’