According to tradition Rabbi Abuhav designed the synagogue and his disciples erected the building in Safed when they arrived in the 1490s after the expulsion from Spain. Another legend claims that the synagogue was transported miraculously from Spain to Safed. The synagogue was almost completely destroyed in the 1837 earthquake, only the southern wall containing the arks remained standing and exists today as a remnant of the original building.
The bimah has six steps representing the six working days of the week; the top level is seventh, representing the Shabbat. The Holy Ark has three sections and contain Torah scrolls traditionally written by Abuhav himself and Solomon Ohana of Fes, Morocco.