Haifa is Israel’s third-largest city, Israel’s chief port and home to 400,000. Draped around the slopes of biblical Mount Carmel, it is a 100-year-old city whose importance burgeoned in the 1920’s and 1930’s as Britain followed its League of Nations mandate over Palestine to create a Jewish homeland. The bustling lower Carmel neighborhood is the port area and where much of Haifa’s daily business is conducted. The slopes of central Carmel are largely residential, and the mountaintop Upper Carmel is home to museums, many hotels and shops. Transportation from the top to the bottom of Mount Carmel is achieved by the Carmelit subway, the Bat Ganim cable car and, of course, by road.
Haifa’s iconic symbol is the golden-domed Baha’i Shrine of the Bab, completed in 1953, that abuts the international headquarters of the Baha’i Faith, a network of giant white Greco-Roman buildings whose beauty stuns the visitor. The Shrine of the Bab was further beautified with the completion in 2001 of the “hanging gardens” (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) magnificent terraced gardens that lead from the shrine to the bottom of Mount Carmel. Here is the restored Templer Colony – where the homes and workshops of 19th-century German Christian “Templer” immigrants are now a network of chic stores, bars and restaurants.
Haifa is home to a dozen museums – including a museum of Japanese Art, Israel’s Railway Museum and the Af-Al-Pi-Chen Museum of Illegal Immigration. It is also home to the Technion, Israel’s version of MIT. Haifa’s Wadi Nisnas neighborhood is the center of multi-holiday celebrations reflecting Haifa’s identity as city that is home to Jews, Christians, Muslims and Baha’is.
Baha’i Shrine of the Bab
Baha’i “Hanging Gardens”
Panorama of Haifa Bay from Upper Carmel
IF YOU HAVE MORE TIME:
Af-Al-Pi-Chen Museum of Illegal Immigration
Israel Railway Museum
Museum of Japanese Art