It was named in honour of the emperor Tiberius. In modern Hebrew it is Teverya.
During Herod's time, the Jews refused to settle there; the presence of a cemetery rendered the site ritually unclean. However, in time, Tiberias became one of the country's four Holy Cities, a centre of learning and the arts, also the Sanhedrin, the Jewish court, chose it as one of its meeting places.
Under Byzantine and Arab rule, the city declined and was devastated by wars and earthquakes in the Middle Ages. During the crusades it was part of the Crusader State of the County of Tripoli. Saladin attacked it in 1187, and then defeated the crusaders at the Battle of Hattin outside Tiberias when they arrived to relieve the siege.
Today, Tiberias is Israel's most popular holiday resort in the Northern half of the country.