Druze Villages Carmel Region

February 6th 2013

Visit the Druze villages near Haifa to get a taste of the unique culture and religion of the Druze community in Israel.

Druze Village Carmel RegionDaliyat el-Carmel is a colorful village situated high on the slope of Mount Carmel. Its market is open on Saturdays and offers local wares and ethnic cuisine. Baklava, olives, olive oil, pita, stuffed grape leaves and labaneh are some of the specialties produced locally. To learn more about the history and culture of the Druze, visit the Druze Heritage House or be a guest at a local’s home. Many locals have opened their homes to tourists. They dress in traditional Druze garb, tell the story of their people and serve delicious meals. Walking tours of the village can also be arranged.
The Druze people are loyal citizens of Israel, and they serve in the Israel Defense Forces. The village has a military cemetery and a monument for fallen Druze soldiers. Oliphant House, originally the home of Sir Laurence Oliphant, an English Zionist, is now a museum that tells the story of the relationship between the Druze and Israel.

Nearby Isfiya is another especially hospitable Druze village, with a bustling shuk and picturesque narrow streets and alleys. Participate in a walking tour of the village and learn about olive oil and candle production at the site of an ancient oil press. Guesthouses in the village offer local cuisine, performances of traditional dance and music and storytelling. Isfiya also has a promenade that overlooks the view from the top of Mount Carmel.

In addition, remains of the fifth-century Jewish settlement of Husifah were unearthed in the village of Isfiya. They include a synagogue with a mosaic floor bearing Jewish symbols and the inscription “Peace upon Israel” and some 4,500 gold coins dating from the Roman Period.

The Center for Bedouin Heritage “Albadia” provides Bedouin hospitality in a traditional tent encampment, offering real life stories from members of the tribe, encounters with Bedouin religion and traditions, as well as workshops and children’s activities.

A short distance from the villages is a Carmelite Monastery, Muhraka, which, according to tradition, stands on the site of the famous showdown between the prophet Elijah and the false prophets of the Baal. The villages are a good starting point for nature walks in the area.