Haifa city is a situated northwest of Israel between the beautiful Mediterranean Sea and the awe-inspiring Mount Carmel. According to a popular Israeli saying, “Tel Aviv plays while Jerusalem prays. But Haifa works!” Being Israel’s 3rd largest city, Haifa is a major industrial center with a population which reaches up to 300-thousand.
Haifa has a Mediterranean climate with hot, and very dry summers and cool, rainy winters. Spring arrives in March when the temperature level begins to increase. By late May, the temperature level will considerably shoot up to welcome warm summer days. The average temperature in summer is 26 °C and in winter, 12 °C. Snow is extremely rare in Haifa, but temperatures around 6 °C sometimes occur, usually in the early morning. Humidity is high all year round, and rain occurs between October and April. The annual precipitation in Haifa is approximately 524 millimeters.
Haifa earned its prominence since the 11Th century for its Talmudic college and its shipbuilding. Haifa amazingly endured for half a year duration of siege by the infamous Crusaders. But Haifa was finally destroyed in 1099. Then the conqueror Saladin finally seized it from the hands of the Crusaders in 1187, but Richard Coeur de Lion recovered it in 1191.
Haifa went through vast historical transitions because of the different conquerors that laid eyes on it. But, as its ancient temples underwent siege and crumbled to the ground, its economy soared to the sky as time went by.
The immense importance and significance of the city of Haifa escalated along with the arrival of new steamships, which its neighbor harbor of Acre was too small to handle. Then Jewish population in Haifa increased in 1868 because of the arrival of German Templars. When these German people intended to be greedy and expand on Mount Carmel, they came into discord and conflict with its dwellers, the French Carmelites, who shut off much of the hill by erecting mammoth sized walls.
When Emperor William II paid a visit in Haifa on 1898, a jetty was established. This continued the progress of the Haifa port. Then the Emperor suggested the idea of connecting Haifa with the Hejaz railroad to open up Haifa’s outback countryside.
Haifa’s first ever Jewish school was established in the year 1881. Lebanese Christians and Arabs started moving to live in the town. The Bahai from Persia and the Ahmidaya from India, the two sects that split away from Islam, made Haifa their head office.
The labor of the Jews bore fruit when the 20th century dawned. Haifa was hailed as the “city of the future” in Herzl’s book entitled “Old New Land” in 1902; in 1903 the outlying suburb of Herzliya was established; in 1906 three Russian Zionists founded the Atid soap factory, and in 1912 the Technion, an institute of technology, was founded in 1914.
British forces started to occupy the town of Haifa in September 1918. A new railroad line was built that connects Haifa to Egypt via Gaza. The town of Haifa also developed new suburbs like the Hadar HaKarmel in 1920, Ahuzat Samuel in 1921, Bat Galim in 1922, and Geula and Newe Sha’anan. New industrial installations came to life. Haifa’s modern ocean- water harbor was completed in 1933. Following it in the year 1934 is the expansion of the oil depot at the end of Iraq’s pipeline.
The city of Haifa acquired recognition as the port of entry for all immigrants and cargo from Europe after the Jewish Proclamation of State during the year 1948. The economic growth is reflected in the atmosphere of the city. The tourism trade was actively developed.
Tourism in Haifa
The modern Haifa has several important religious sites and these attract many pilgrims and tourists from all over the world each year. The Baha’i World Center is one of the holy and important for the Baha’i Faith and is home the golden domed Shrine of the Bab. Pilgrims from all over the world come the shrine to pay respect to the first practitioners and leaders of their Baha’i faith. The shrine is also surrounded by the spectacular Bahai gardens, planted in 1909 and nurtured ever since. Elijah’s Cave is also a relevant shrine to several religions in Haifa.
This is known to be the exact cave where Elijah, a Hebrew prophet started to teach and spread his teachings. Visitors and pilgrims alike have recorded many inscriptions on the cave’s walls, including Greek names and a Menorah. Stella Maris Carmelite Monastery is where the Carmelite order of Catholic monks was founded during the Crusades in the 12Th century. The Church also houses a collection of antiquities. The monastery served as a hospital for Napoleon’s wounded soldiers. In front of it are monuments of dead French soldiers.
Apart from its busy port on the bay, Haifa has quiet and attractive suburbs. Residential and business districts are located on the slopes, while the finest resort hotels and peaceful residences are located on the mountaintop. These terraced landscapes offer a rich variety of breathtaking panoramas, giving the observer the sensation of being on a heavenly peninsula. The lower and upper cities are linked by a cable car. Haifa also has the only subway in Israel called the Carmelit. Just to the south of Haifa are magnificent beaches that locals flock into.
Other tourist attractions in the city of Haifa include the University of Haifa that is situated on one of the Carmel Mountain peaks. It is outstanding for its modern planning and three graduate buildings. The Eshkol Tower provides spectacular views of Haifa and the bay area. The University also houses an art gallery with works displayed by artists, victims of the holocaust. Wadi Nisnas, with its colorful market and bustling streets is another tourist recommended site in Haifa. The Wadi is also the heart of the “holiday of holidays” festival, an annual winter celebration with collaboration between the Christian, Muslim and Jewish religions.
Haifa became the cultural heart northern Israel, despite of its image as a port and a successful industrial city. During the 1950s, mayor Abba Hushi exerted an effort to encourage authors and poets to reside in the city. In honor of the artists and their artistic works, Haifa Theatre was founded. The principal Arabic theater that caters the northern Arab population is the al-Midan Theater. Other theaters in the city include the Krieger Centre for the Performing Arts and the Rappaport Art and Culture Center.
The New Haifa Symphony Orchestra, established in 1950, already has more than 5,000 subscribers. The Haifa Cinematheque, founded in 1975, hosts the annual Haifa International Film Festival during the intermediate days of their Sukkot holiday. Haifa now already has 29 movie theatres. The city publishes a local newspaper called Yediot Haifa, and has its own radio station called Radio Haifa.
How to Get There Haifa
The City of Haifa has its very own airport. But the nearest International Airport is at Ben Gurion. From Ben Gurion you can easily connect a flight towards Haifa. But the best way to get to Haifa is to drive on land. Haifa is only two hours away and can be reached using cars, taxicabs, and buses.