|What to do
Where to go
|The Baha’i Gardens|
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Haifa is the third largest city in Israel and the largest urban center in the north of the country. Due to its location, character and topography, Haifa is a special city which blends nature with the city; green hills with the blue of the Mediterranean Sea. Haifa is a port city and as such is the commercial, industrial and cultural hub of northern Israel. One of Haifa’s attributes is the blend of five religions living side by side in a unique tapestry; Jews, Muslims, Christians, Baha’is and Druze. The mixture of cultures and of the city’s history cultivated a variety of sites and attractions which are characteristic of Haifa alone. In Haifa you can find parks and nature reserves, archeological sites, historical structures and museums along with picturesque streets.
Before we list some recommended sites, you will be pleased to know that in 2011 the “Haifa Path” was inaugurated; an urban trek planned by an architect and a geographer which stretches close to 70 km. The path is divided into 21 independent hiking trails which tie into a single urban ramble, moving among the central sites of Haifa and the Carmel. For further details, click here.
Hills and cliffs alongside green vegetation throughout the year have made the Carmel a must-visit site. The mount’s beauty and its holiness through history led to the establishment of the world’s most Carmelite monastery. With an area of 100,000 hectares, Mount Carmel is the largest of Israel’s national parks and in it one can find a variety of wildlife (among them the Persian fallow deer, the Carmel deer and the Israeli deer), forests and clearings as well as numerous plants and flowers. On the mountain a number of ravines flow, and the most beautiful, known as “Little Switzerland” is Nachal Kelach. The beautiful observation spots among the archeological ruins, overlooking the Mediterranean, are breathtaking. Further information is available through the following link.
The Baha’i Gardens
The Baha’i Gardens, perhaps one of the loveliest spots in Israel, is also one of the holiest sites of the Baha’I religion. The gardens were constructed of 19 terraces and are spread over Mount Carmel, down to the foot of the mountain. The gardens themselves were designed according to an important principle of the Baha’i religion, and as such one can see the great attention paid to the aesthetics and the landscape design. Many Baha’i from all over the world come on pilgrimage to the gardens, within which the World Baha’i Centre is located. In 2008 some of the Baha’i buildings were declared World Heritage Sites. From the gardens there is a stunning panoramic view all along Haifa Bay of the ships in the harbor, the hills of Galilee and the Mediterranean- a view you will not want to miss. Make sure to check the hours of operation ahead of time. Information is available at this link.
At the foot of the Baha’i gardens is the Wadi Nisnas neighbourhood, where Jews and Arabs live side by side. Wander through the “Wadi market” , held on the main streets of the neighbourhood, visit Beit Hageffen- an Arab/Jewish cultural centre or the Haifa Museum of Art. If you visit Haifa in December, do not miss the “Festival of Festivals” a festival of three holidays for three religions: Chanuka for the Jews, Ramadan for the Muslims and Christmas for the Christians.
Haifa has many museums, among them specialty museums, including: the National Science, Technology and Space Museum, the Illegal Immigration and Naval Museum which tells the naval history of Israel, and the Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art. Along with these there is also the Haifa Museum of Art which has art exhibits as well as organizing walking tours throughout the city.
The Stairs Tour
There are numerous attractions in the city and not enough space to write about them all. One of the most interesting tours we found is one which is held by citizens who discovered the beauty of Haifa while wandering about the city. As a town built on hills, the streets of Haifa spread out up and down and across the Carmel. The streets are connected by many staircases, which have become an attraction onto themselves. Choose a set of stairs and start climbing; the sights you will discover will change as you climb or go down, according to the time of day and the season. The views are constantly changing, offering another experience of the city.
The Graffiti Tour
In Haifa there are a number of well-known Israeli academic institutions, including the Technion, Haifa University and WIZO Haifa. The many academic centers attract numerous young people who make their surroundings livelier and more colorful. An interesting tour you may want to consider is the street art and graffiti tour in the Hadar Neighbourhood, the home of the Broken Fingaz Crew, an internationally-known Israeli graffiti collective. The graffiti are strewn all through the neighborhood, and are also a symbol of the shared existence within the city, written in Arabic and Hebrew.