December 31st 2014
Haifa, the third largest city in Israel, is home to nearly 300,000 people. The city of Haifa is located near the distinctive, rounded point that juts out of the upper left on the map of Israel. It’s a Mediterranean harbor city and one of the main commercial ports in Israel.
After the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, the Haifa seaport was the primary entry point for Jewish immigrants to Israel. Thus, the Haifa seaport was the first thing hundreds of thousands of Holocaust survivors and Jewish refugees from Arab countries witnessed upon their arrival in the Land of Israel.
Today, in addition to being home to much of Israel’s high tech and research industries, Haifa is rich with resources for tourists. Haifa is a city that was built on three different levels, up the side of a mountain. The lowest level is the port level where the shipping industry dominates. The port level is also home to the German Colony, known for picturesque restaurants and boutique hotels. The middle level is known as Hadar and is primarily the local business district.
The third level is the Central Carmel District. In the Central Carmel District you’ll find green and thriving residential neighborhoods, hotels, restaurants, museums and important cultural centers, including the Haifa Auditorium, the Rothschild House and the Haifa Cinematheque. Don’t miss the underground Carmelit Subway that connects Haifa’s three levels as it climbs up the slope of the mountain.
There’s plenty to do in Haifa. Learn about the little-known Bahá’í religion as you take in the magnificent Bahá’í Gardens and the adjacent Shrine of Bab, a religious shrine that is considered to be the second holiest place in the world for followers of the Bahá’í faith. Explore Haifa’s restored Germany Colony on the port level and its origins that date back to the time of the Templars. If you’ve been to the German Colony in Jerusalem, you can compare the two neighborhoods.
Some of Haifa’s most famous museums include the Israel National Museum of Science, Technology and Space and the Haifa Museum of Art. For something not normally found in Israel, pay a visit to the Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art.
With so much to see and do in Haifa, you may want to give yourself several days to spend in the Capital of Israel’s North.