The Red Khan
One of the nicest places to hold an event in Safed is the Red Khan. Originally built in 1276 by Baybars after the Mameluke conquest of the city some ten years earlier, it is one of the earliest buildings of its type in the country. However, it is not normally open to the public so usually the only way to get to see this magnificent building is to be invited to a celebration or attend a concert.
Located on Tet Zayin street just past the Mameluke Mausoleum, built in the same period and style (1372), the building retains its imposing stone gateway. Above the carved wooden doors of the entrance you can still see the original inscription in the stonework. Initially run as a hostel or caravanserai for travelers and their animals in the 14th century by the Muslim Waqf, it was later also used as a mosque. However, little remains of the minaret which collapsed in one of the earthquakes, which also damaged part of the building. You can still look at the mihrab or wall niche with its religious dedication indicating the direction of Mecca for worshipers, inside in the main vaulted room.
From the outside street little can be seen, just the stone walls which face Mount Meron. However, when you step inside the gateway a huge courtyard is revealed as well as the vaulted hall. Inside, up to 400 people can be accommodated in summer by using both the courtyards and the vaulted hall. In winter, using only the inside space, the Khan can seat up to 200 for events and celebrations.
With trees growing in the courtyard and the high vaulted ceilings of the main hall it is a delightful place to host a wedding or bar mitzva. It is extremely spacious and you can easily create a beautiful atmosphere. With plenty of room for music and dancing, you can still enjoy a conversation while you eat. It is also easy to divide into men and women's sections should you wish to do so, and unlike more modern halls, there is usually no need to remove the tables to create dancing space. The Khan is also ideal for many other types of entertainment as it can be set up in a variety of ways and is often used for classical concerts.
Although a kitchen is available, there is no catering company associated with the Red Khan's management. This makes it is very flexible as it means you can choose your own caterer, or do it yourself, as you wish. The management of course supplies tables and chairs, gas, electricity and water, but all the rest is up to you.
As a non-profit organization, the management ploughs the fees back into the maintenance and renovations of the building. Hire charges vary starting at approximately 4,000 sheckles plus for a bar-mitzva, to around 6,000 sheckles or more for a wedding, depending on your requirements. Of course the Red Khan is also available for commercial events and enterprises at appropriate rates.
Turning into Tet Zayin Street from Hanassi Street by the sign for the Rimon Inn there is plenty of parking space outside for your guests. It is also just a short stroll down the hill from the city's main parking lot in front of the Saraya.