Haifa and Carmel

Haifa Travel Overview

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Haifa, Israel’s third largest city, is the urban center of the country’s northern region. Located on the historic Mount Carmel, the city and its surrounding villages have been inhabited for 3,000 years. Today the port city is home to historical sites alongside Mediterranean beaches, and lies only a short drive away from the Sea of Galilee.

 

History of Haifa

 

Haifa stands today on land first settled in the Late Bronze Age, and was conquered by successive armies including Caliphates and the Crusaders. A monastery was established by Carmelites in Haifa in the 12th century, and still endures as the Stella Maris Lighthouse and Carmelite Monastery. The city was taken from the Crusaders by Saladin, and changed hands repeatedly until becoming part of what is now modern Israel.

 

Attractions in and around Haifa

 

Bahai Shrine and Gardens- Haifa’s most striking landmark is the Baha’i Shrine and Gardens, the International headquarters for the Bahai’s Faith. The shrine is considered the second holiest shrine within the Baha’i Faith and is situated in the city center. The most impressive part of the shrine is the impressive Baha’i Gardens, completed in 2001. Its 19 terraces extend all the way up the Mt. Carmel. Pilgrims come to Haifa from all parts of the world to pay homage to the first leaders of their religion, which emphasizes unity across all cultures and religions. There are also Bahai gardens in the port city of Akko, not far from Haifa. If you wish to visit on your own, there are three locations that you may visit. To get a more in-depth look at the gardens, it is suggested to join one of the free of charge walking tours offered daily (except Wednesday)

Bahai Gardens

Bahai Gardens

Carmel Beach– Haifa’s Carmel Beach is a great place to spend time relaxing in th esand or at one of the restaurants or cafes that line the boardwalk. The beach is easily accessed by foot from the Hof Hacarmel train sstation and central bus station.

Louis Promenade-This central promenade is located on Mount Carmel, close to many restaurants, hotels (such as the Dan Panorama), museums and other attractions. The amazing view enables one to see the neighboring cities on a clear day.

Technion- Israel Institute of Technology– The world renowned university, home to many Nobel prize winners  is located in Haifa. If you wish to visit, the Technion Visitor Center gives free pre-organized tours.

Potential shoppers can stop by the Haifa Mall or the Hutzot Hamifratz center, and museum-goers can visit the Haifa Museum of Art, the Haifa Institute of Science and the National Maritime Museum.

Haifa is also home to religious places of interest for the Abrahamic faiths. The Cave of Elijah, just below the Stella Maris Lighthouse, is believed to where the prophet hid when fleeing from Ahab, king of Israel. Stella Maris Monastery is located surrounding the cave, and holds mass regularly.

Mount Carmel itself, upon which Haifa stands, is an especially prominent site within the Bible. It was on the mountain that Elijah is believed to have lived, and it is on Mount Carmel that the Bible records the prophet dueling with 450 priests of the god Baal. The opposing parties agreed to a contest in which the true god would consume the group’s sacrifice. Elijah emerged victorious after dousing his offering several times with water to make the sacrifice inflammable, while the god of the Baal priests remained silent.

 

Where to stay in Haifa

 

Haifa is home to two Christian guesthouses, the Stella Maris Guesthouse, run by the Carmelite Sisters and the St. Charles guesthouse, run by the Rosary Sisters.


For more information and to find our more about booking an individual or group tour contact us!