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Haifa

Haifa, Israel's third largest city and northern capital is the heart of it all! Situated in a broad natural bay between the beautiful Mediterranean Sea and the inspiring Carmel Mountain, the city's terraced landscape offers a rich variety of breathtaking panoramas, giving the observer the sensation of being on a heavenly peninsula.


Haifa is home to 250,000 inhabitants, members of five different religions, living side by side in harmony, peace and mutual respect. A rich tapestry of contrasts and colors, varying cultures, and ethnic groups makes up the fabric of life in Haifa. Secular, Religious and Ultra-Orthodox Jews live side by side with Christians, Muslims, Bahai and Druze.


According to some sources Haifa derives its name from "Caiaphas", the High Priest during the time of Jesus. Other traditions trace the name to the blending of two Hebrew words "Hof" and "Yafe" or "beautiful shore", embracing Mount Carmel, "The Vineyard of the Lord", as far as the eye can see. Here Israel's largest national park of over 10,000 hectares, scattered with dozens of observation points and hiking trails, offers magnificent views and thrilling adventures for nature lovers, picnic fans and people in love.


Haifa is a city on the rise built on three levels: Downtown (old city, port and coast), the middle city (Hadar HaCarmel) and the upper city (Carmel and Ahuza). The change of altitude over such a short distance is emphasized by the only subway of Israel, the Carmelit, which travels from almost sea level downtown, through the middle city to the Central Carmel (280 meters above sea level) in 6 minutes.


Haifa breathes culture with more than a dozen museums exhibiting a large variety of collections. Trains, boats and planes, archaeology, art and sculpture, whatever subject amuses your fancy, Haifa holds a variety of wonders. The Haifa Museum of Art, the National Science Museum, the Maritime Museum, the Railway Museum, the Tikotin Japanese Art Museum, the Natural History Museum and Zoo and the Prehistoric Museum are open all year round.


Places to visit:
The Stella Maris Monastery - belongs to the Carmelite Order of Monks and has a wonderful view of the Bay of Haifa and is a center for Christian pilgrims from all over the world. The Haifa Tourist and Leisure Board sponsor concerts here on the last Thursday of every month. These are entitled ‘Sounds of Stella Maris’ (The Star of the Sea).


The Bahai Temple and the Golden Dome - This is the last resting place of the Bab, the prophet who disseminated the good news about the Bahai religion. Around the Temple you can find the world-famous spectacular Bahai gardens that are built on 19 garden terraces as well as fountains and tours, which are available from the top of Mount Carmel to its feet.


Horn of the Carmel - (in Arabic: "Dir el-Muhraka" - the monastery of the "place of burning") is the second largest place on the Carmel ridge - 497 meters above sea level. The location houses an old monastery that belongs to the Carmelite Order, which arrived here from Europe in the 17th century. According to tradition, the fire that rained down from the sky amid a struggle between Prophet Elijah and the Baal prophets had occurred in this exact location.


Al Istiqlal Mosque - was built in the 1920’s and is the largest and most active and central mosque in Haifa. The mosque also houses religious institutions known as the Shari’a court and the waqf administration, which serve the Muslim Arab sector of Haifa.


Castra Art, Recreation and Shopping Centre - is situated inside an architectonic structure, decorated with syncline paintings and sculptures by artist Eric Brower. Castra houses two museums, one of which displays antiquities from the old city of Castra, and the other is a puppet theatre relaying the chronological history of the Jewish people.


Wadi Nisnas - with its colorful souk and bustling streets is an authentic Middle Eastern neighborhood. Nearby, the Orthodox Geula Street recalls the sights and sounds of an East European community.

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