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During Herod's time, the Jews refused to settle there; the presence of a cemetery rendered the site ritually unclean. However, Antipas forcibly settled people there from rural Galilee in order to populate his new capital. In time, Tiberias became one of the country's four Holy Cities, a centre of Jewish learning and the arts. Also the Sanhedrin, the Jewish court, chose it as one of its meeting places. It was in fact the final meeting place before the disbandment. Following the expulsion of all Jews from Jerusalem after 135, Tiberias and its neighbor Sepphoris became the major centers of Jewish culture. The Mishnah, which grew into the Jerusalem Talmud, may have begun to have been written here.
Under Byzantine and Arab rule, the city declined and was devastated by wars and earthquakes in the Middle Ages. During the crusades it was the central city of the Principality of Galilee in the Kingdom of Jerusalem; the region was sometimes called the Principality of Tiberias, or the Tiberiad. Saladin besieged it during his invasion of the kingdom in 1187, and in October of that year defeated the crusaders at the Battle of Hattin outside the city. Around this time the original site of the city was abandoned, and settlement shifted north to the present location.
Today, Tiberias is Israel's most popular holiday resort in the northern half of the country.
A Sanhedrin was officially reestablished in October, 2004 in a meeting in Tiberias.  However it is not generally accepted by other Jewish scholars as legitimate, since many believe the return of Elijah has to happen first, since only he unquestionably has the necessary ordination to do convene a Sanhedrin.
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