Haifa

Beautiful nature and architecture, sea views from all around, and a captivating mix of cultures, in Haifa, the charming city of the north.
Bahai Gardens in Haifa, Northern israel

Haifa: where the mountain meets the sea

Located on the Carmel Mountain and Haifa Bay, Haifa, the biggest city of Northern Israel, provides a great display of diversity and coexistence in an energetic, multi-cultural city. Featuring beautiful views, vibrant nightlife, great beaches, and the world-renowned Bahai Gardens, Haifa truly has something for everyone.
Haifa Skyline, Northern Israel
Haifa Bay, Northern Israel
Bahai Gardens in Haifa, Northern israel

The History of Haifa

The city of Haifa has been used as a port city for about 1,800 years. Although the location of the ancient city is not known today, it is commonly assumed that the city’s origin was in the center of Haifa’s Downtown today. In the ninth century, the city was part of the trade routes with the cities of Egypt. The trade brought great wealth to the city, as most of Haifa’s inhabitants were engaged in shipping, trading, and producing materials such as glass. Between the 9th and 11th centuries, most of the city’s residents were Jewish, and the city gained great influence.

in 1100, the Crusaders, who had occupied most of the land of Israel at the time, had begun a siege over Haifa. The city was fortified and surrounded by a wall with many towers, and the Crusader siege took place on both sea and land. The Jewish residents of the city rejected the demands of the Crusaders to surrender and convert to Christianity, and even came out of the city walls and attacked the Crusader forces and their siege towers. To conquer the city, the Crusader prince of the Galilee had to bring many forces to the Haifa area, and only after a month of fighting, the city was conquered, and most of its inhabitants, mostly Jews, were massacred.

In 1799, during the Ottoman rule, Napoleon conquered Haifa on his journey to conquer Acre. The residents of the city decided not to defend themselves against Napoleon’s army but instead opened the city gates to him and his army. The Carmelite monastery Stella Maris on Carmel was seized by Napoleon and turned into a hospital for his soldiers.

Today, after being ruled by so many different peoples and rulers, Haifa has about 300,000 residents. It is known as an extremely diverse city, as about 12% of the city’s population is Arabic, and about 25% of it is made up of Jewish people who moved to Israel since 1990, mostly from previous USSR countries.

Best places to visit in Haifa

The Bahai Gardens in Haifa

One of the hallmarks of Haifa is undoubtedly the Baha’i gardens and the spectacularly beautiful Golden Dome Temple. The designed gardens occupy Over a kilometer of the slopes of Mount Carmel. They are divided into 19 levels, with the temple, the beating heart of the Bahá’í religion, in the middle. The world-renowned Temple is built of nine parts that symbolize the nine major religions and has an impressive golden dome.

If you only wish to take a quick look at the gardens from outside, we would recommend going to the beautiful observation deck at 61 Yeffe Nof St., at the end of the Louis Promenade, and marvel at the views of the Haifa Bay at your feet and the Galilee Mountains on the horizon.

Stella Maris Monastery

The Stella Maris Monastery is a Carmelite men’s monastery, and it serves as the Carmelite order’s world center. The monastery was first built in the 12th century but was ruined several times through the years. The current monastery was built in 1836. Located in the Stella Maris neighborhood, the Monastery is accessible by a cable car ride with beautiful views overlooking the whole city.

In the center of the monastery is a wide church hall, designed in the shape of a cross. Its dome is decorated with the paintings of Brother Luigi Fuji, who painted on it the figures of the prophet Elijah, King David, the prophets Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel, Jesus and his parents, and the Carmelite saints. Below them are drawn the figures of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, authors of the four gospels in the New Testament.

Under the dome, on the stage, stands the statue of Mary carrying Jesus. The statue, known as “Our Lady of the Carmel” was created it in 1820, and was blessed by The Pope before it was sent to the Holy Land. In the monastery complex is the Cave of Elijah. The cave, originally the tomb of a Byzantine monk, has for generations been the center of veneration for Elijah the prophet, whose statue stands on the altar in it.

Haifa’s German Colony

the German Colony lies At the foot of the Bahá’í Gardens. This is one of the agricultural colonies established during the 19th century by the Templars, a religious-Christian movement from Germany that believed that by living and working in the Holy Land, they will make salvation come sooner.

The construction of the German Colony was well planned, as it is known for its wide streets and impressive stone buildings that have been preserved here, including both private homes of the families of the colony and public buildings, such as the Templar People’s House, the school of the colony which now serves as the home of the Haifa City Museum.

The main street of the German Colony is Sderot Ben Gurion which is mainly an entertainment center with a variety of restaurants and cafes open daily, even on the weekends and provides an excellent look at the Baha’i gardens that are perched up the mountain. Pro tip: It’s best to come here in the dark when you can see the gardens lit up.

Downtown Haifa

The most popular nightlife area in Haifa, Haifa’s Downtown features over 80 bars in a wide variety of styles, colors, and flavors. As a city that mixes the old and the new, you can find here institutions that have existed for over 50 years, alongside new and vibrant bars that have sprung up in recent years as part of the major revival of the Downtown area in the past few years. Most of the downtown residents are young university students, which will be mostly felt during a night out on Thursday or Friday evening when the streets are busy and loud.

Wasi Nisnas

No trip to Haifa is complete without a visit to the Wadi Nisnas neighborhood, and its main street – Wadi Street. considered to be the best culinary destination in Haifa, The neighborhood was established in the 19th century and over the years has maintained its special character as an Arab neighborhood. Wadi Nisnas is located between the Hadar neighborhood, the German colony, and the Downtown, so you can easily walk here from most other popular destinations in Haifa.

 

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