Isreal’s third largest city is home to the Junior Maccabiah, and is set upon Mount Carmel. Haifa is often compared to San Francisco or Naples.
Haifa is quite different from either Jerusalem or Tel Aviv and is a pleasure to visit for both its physical beauty and lifestyle. In a society unlike any other in the Middle East, Jews and Arabs live and work side by side; 25 percent of Haifa’s population is either Muslim or Christian.
Haifa did not become a major city until the 1930s, when the British built a vast, modern harbor here, and turned the community into a naval centre and terminus for oil refineries and pipelines.
Israel’s important chemical and hi-tech industries are concentrated in Haifa, and the city is home to the Technion Institute of Technology, the M.I.T. of Israel.
Until the age of jet airliners, Haifa’s harbor was the main entrance into the country.
Israelis are fond of saying: “Tel Aviv plays while Jerusalem prays. But Haifa works!” A visit here is filled with new insights into what Israel is all about.
From the top of Mount Carmel, take in the view from the Louis Promenade across the Port of Haifa. It heads north right across into the western Galilee.
The city’s crown jewel is undoubtedly the Bah’ai Gardens. They form part of the Bah’ai World Centre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The beautiful gardens are a place of pilgrimage for members of the Bah’ai faith. The Head Gardner is a former Australian. The gardens sit on terraces sloping down Mount Carmel towards the beautiful Mediterranean Sea. At the bottom of the gardens is Haifa’s German Colony.
The area’s famous for its pretty streets of restored templar- era buildings. The main street of the German Colony runs directly from the bottom of the gardens towards the coast and is lined with restaurants and cafes.
Haifa has some glorious beaches and because of the shape of Israel’s coastline, Bat Galim Beach is the only one in the country facing north, making it the best for surfing. From Carmel Heights, the cable car will take you down to the seaside Bat Galim Promenade.
From here it's an easy walk to the National Maritime Museum and the Museum of Clandestine Immigration; while hugging the waterfront several kilometers farther south is the Railroad Museum, housed in an attractive old Ottoman building.
Haifa is a highly cultured city with a large number of museums, a theatre company, and two universities – Haifa University and the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology. The latter is the country’s oldest university, opening its doors in 1924, a year before the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The Technion has also become one of the world’s leading science and technology universities. Many of Israel’s foremost high-tech entrepreneurs are Technion graduates, and two of the university’s professors were awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2004. Per capita, Haifa is home to the largest student population and the most Nobel Laureates.