Perched on top of Mount Carmel, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, Haifa is Israel’s third largest city. It has Israel’s largest port, thriving industries, institutions of higher learning and many interesting museums. Haifa is especially well-known for the harmonious interaction among the different faiths, Jewish, Muslim, Christian, and is World Center of the Bahai Faith.
Haifa is circled by natural sites- mountains and sea, and the city offers and interesting mix of old districts- churches and mosques, as well as modern neighborhoods. This unique multi-faceted city provides tourist many wonderful places to visit. The bustling sea-port area draws merchants, as well as tourist eager to shop. The beautiful beaches are filled with people during the summer. In addition, because of their excellent conditions, the beaches host many of Israel top water sports and events including sailing competitions.
The city is home to the 3-largest religions in the world, as well as other minority faiths, becoming a symbol of tolerance and co-existence. Nearly ten percent of the population is Arab ( Muslim and Christian), residing mostly in Khalisa, Abas, and popular with tourist Wadi Nisnas- with charming streets, and host to the popular “Holiday of Holidays” lifestyle festival.
Christianity has strongly influenced the city, you’ll find many Christian churches and places; The Sacre Coeur Catholic School on Allenby, with it’s beautiful garden and impressive statues of Saint Mary. A Maronite church situated next to Kikar Paris or “Paris Square” commemorating the Prophet Elijah, and nearby Christian’s traveling to the holyland can visit Saint Mary’s Greek Orthodox Parish Church. Christians consider the top of Carmel, a holy site, and where you’ll find the Stella Maris Carmelite Monastery, which contains a Baroque-style-church, and a cave considered by Christian-tradition as the site of the grave of the Prophet Elijah. The monastery also houses a small museum dedicated to the Prophet.
Yet another religious community home to Haifa is the Ahmadi Muslim community who live in Haifa’s Kababir neighborhood- an Indian sect of Islam, since the late 19th century, promoting peace among nations and religious tolerance. Their large mosque also houses an exhibit on their rich history in addition to the large prayer hall.
Haifa’s fame of religious tolerance is also embraced by the Bahai Faith, their religion World Center is located in Haifa- with their amazing Bahai gardens; an impressive garden which extends up the slope of Carmel, with a gold-domed Shrine of the Bab, burial tomb of Bab, atop the slope. Visitors traveling on holy land Israel tours often stop at the gardens to enjoy the peaceful view of the bay and gardens, which are illuminated during evenings with special lighting.
At the foot of the Gardens you’ll find the quaint German Colony, founded in the 19th century by German Templars whom immigrated to establish a German Christian community in the Holyland. Many residents homes have been so welled preserved that tourist traveling to the old community can still see the names of the original home-residents etched on it’s entrances and stone walls. The German colony is a popular attraction, and its worthwhile visiting it’s colorful walkways and streets during a trip to Israel.
Haifa also offers many cultural activities and museums including: the Dagon Grain Silo, the National Museum of Science and Technology, the National Maritime Museum, the Haifa Museum of Art, the Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art, the Clandestine Immigration and Naval Museum, the Railway Museum, the Reuben and Edith Hecht Museum, and the Israel Oil Industry Museum.
The city is also home to the annual Haifa Film Festival honoring high quality local and international films. Throughout Haifa are hundreds of inspiring sites and activities offering amazing and charming experiences waiting to be discovered during a tour to Israel.