Best attractions in Haifa
The northern capital of Israel, the habitat of the seven religions, the third largest city in the country, the industrial and technological center with its “Silicon Valley”, a magnificent resort on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea – all this is the city of Haifa. They go here to rest, study, be treated and just live, enchanted by a fairy charm and an unusual friendly atmosphere. Where to stay, where to go and what to see in Haifa?
The history of Hayfa
Throughout Israel, the city Hayfa is the most tolerant, where representatives of seven faiths coexist peacefully. It is not for nothing that the Bahá’í religion, which professes the unity of God and humanity, has chosen its center. However, this situation did not always reign here. For two thousand years of history, the city was repeatedly destroyed to its foundations, its religious shrines were wiped off the face of the earth and rulers from all over the world appointed the centers of their possessions. The first mention of Hayfa refers to the third century of a new era, but archaeologists find settlements of primitive people living in these places 250,000 years ago on the slopes of the Carmel Ridge. On the shore, large fishing villages began to take shape during the Roman period: then these places were used as a transit point on the way to Israel. The second name of the city – Porphyrion – appeared due to the development of purple from mollusks Halazon: extremely valuable, it was used to paint the robes of rulers and noble costumes.
For a long time Hayfa entered the province of the Roman Empire, Judea, later renamed Palestine. With the advent of the Vyzantines, shipbuilding added to the fishery in Hayfa: over the course of a century, local residents, mostly Jews and Arabs, built ships and served the neighboring large port of Acre. After the fall of Vyzantium and until 1100 there were troubled times: the rulers from Baghdad, Egypt, Damascus succeeded each other until the crusaders established power here and brought Christianity with them. However, the world did not last long – the Mamluks, who came from Egypt, practically erased the city from the face of the earth, passing under the authority of Bedouin sheikhs.
The serious changes that laid the foundation of the current state of things occurred in the XIX-XX centuries. A new seaport was built in Hyifa Bay, which quickly became the most important in the region, and a railway line was built. A powerful Carmelite monastery was erected in the city, the Bahay temple was laid, the Technion was opened, the first technical school in the Middle East. This gave a sharp push to the rapid development of the city and the growth of the population, mainly Jews and Christians, which led to interethnic clashes. In 1948, Hayfa left Jerusalem for the partition plan of Palestine: traces of bloody battles are still preserved on the body of the city, in the Wadi Salib, the City of the Dead, now become a terrible decoration for Hollywood militants. In the rest, the city does not remind anything of the past. A lively modern, progressive and industrial center of the country, a city of students with prestigious higher educational institutions.
The districts of Hayfa
The symbol of the city Hayfa Carmel also determines the location of its quarters, located on the slopes of the ridge and along the Mediterranean coast. The city is divided into Upper, Middle and Lower. The lower part, located along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, is the oldest: the construction of the city began here. Today, it blends past and future, attracting beaches and supermodern offices, a measured resort atmosphere and a tough world of “white-collar workers”. In the Lower City there is the Government Quarter, which houses administrative buildings, downtown with the highest in Haifa, the skyscraper “Parus” and offices of large companies. Particular attention should be paid to Porto: the largest in Israel. On its territory can not get, but feel a lively atmosphere, after sitting in one of the local pubs, you can do it. The middle city is the commercial part of Hayfa, indispensable for walking and shopping, but it’s better not to settle here. Noisy, hot and dusty: not as comfortable as it is at the top and not as picturesque as on the coast. But for shopping it is worth to go here, to the largest Hayfa market “Talpiot”, for fresh vegetables, fruits, dairy products, spices and authentic street food. In addition, there are many restaurants and cafes with kitchens around the world to relax in between shopping.
The upper city is the best place in Hayfa for living and the main attraction center for tourists. Here are better restaurants and clubs, fashionable hotels, shopping complexes, boutiques and interesting sights. Thanks to a light breeze and the cleanest mountain air, mixed with the scents of flowering gardens, it’s easy to breathe and be comfortable to stay. Here are the best areas of Hayfa: the lively and picturesque French and Central Carmel, as well as the elite sleeping Romma and Denia.
The sightseeings of Hayfa
The sightseeings of Hayfa are so diverse that the fans of culture, history, religion, nature and lovers of long walks along the atmospheric streets will be able to taste to themselves. One day you can not get around, but if you are limited in time, you should pay attention to the main “mast”. This is the Bahay Gardens in Hayfa, the Monastery of the Carmelites with a viewing platform, the cave of Elijah the Prophet, the wonderful promenade of Taliet Louis and the German quarter of Moshava Germanit at any time of the day. Start the inspection is from the Monastery of the Carmelites: you can climb it by metro or cable car. The lower station of the latter is located in Beit Galim. The Carmelite Monastery of Stella Maris was erected in the beginning of the XIX century by the monks, who formed the monastic order of the Carmelites, named after the sacred for three religions of Mount Carmel. The monastery was destroyed three times and rebuilt again: today it strikes with cleanarchitectural lines, magnificent frescoes and exquisite interior decoration.
Nearby – an observation deck, which offers a stunning panorama of the bay and in 20 minutes walk from it – the cave of Elijah the Prophet, where, according to legend, a biblical saint lived here some time ago. From here along the picturesque road you can reach the promenade of Louis – the main tourist center of the city with the best hotels and restaurants. It is worth to calculate the time so that by noon to get to the entrance to the upper tier of the Bahay Gardens, which is on the street Yafe-Nof. At this time a free tour of the main sight of the city begins here. The Bahays of Hayfa are magnificent hanging gardens located on the 19 terraces of the slope of Mount Carmel. They surround the Bahay temple with a golden dome – the main shrine of the Bahays, where one of its founders Baba is buried. The construction of the temple began at the beginning of the last century, and in 2008 the garden and park complex and the temple were included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The gilded dome, towering at 11-meter height, can be seen from any part of Hayfa: for its creation, more than 12,000 gilded tiles were used. From the temple to the bottom of the park, decorated with sculptures, fountains and unusual compositions, conducts 1,700 steps. Only pilgrims can climb them from the bottom up, for tourists only the opposite direction is available.
The lower terraces end in the area of Moshav Germanit – a block, founded by German immigrants. It is necessary to leave time for a walk in this atmospheric place: here typical Hayfa streets are replaced by European ones: tiled roofs, well-kept houses and alleys, citrus groves, houses with wine cellars, cozy restaurants with excellent service. An interesting place is a restaurant with a transparent floor, through which you can see the wine cellar: you can have a delicious lunch and rest after a long walk. For the cultural program in the German area is responsible for the Museum of the history of the city. It is noteworthy that it is located in the Templar house, built in 1969. To complete the exploratory walk with the city you can see the business quarter of the Lower Town. Here the attention is deserved by the quaint Paris Square, the court building in the Government Quarter and the highest in Hayfa skyscraper with the romantic name “Parus”. Nearby there is a railway station and a bus station, as well as a picturesque promenade, where you can pass the time, admiring the impressive Mediterranean sunset.
The beach rest in Hayfa
Although Hayfa is not considered a typical seaside resort, the beaches here are one of the most attractive in Israel. The friendly Mediterranean Sea in Hayfa is unusually clean, even despite its proximity to Israel’s largest port. A five-kilometer sand strip passes along the Lower city, and the total length of the coastline in the bay is about 17 km. That’s why tours to Hayfa especially from April to October are especially popular, when sightseeing can be combined with beach rest. Beaches, even remote from the center, are equipped with the necessary resort infrastructure. In rent for 15-30 shekels you can take sun beds and umbrellas or settle right on the sand: often so rest locals, getting out on sunny weekends on picnics on the beach. There are active beaches on the beaches: water scooters and catamarans, beach volleyball courts and surf spots. And, of course, hundreds of cafes and restaurants, located on the shore or along the waterfront, will satisfy even gourmets.
The most popular beach in Hayfa is Bat-Galim, stretched along the coastline of the eponymous district. This is the only beach in the city, you can get to it without crossing the railway tracks and highways. Due to the proximity of the famous Israeli clinic Rambam, Bet-Galim was chosen by tourists, whose priority is treatment and beach rest.
In the southern part, kiting and windsurfing fans gather, which means a lively youth and relaxed atmosphere. Closer to the center of the beach is a play area for children in the form of a wooden pirate ship. Along the coastline stretches a picturesque promenade with dozens of shops, cafes and restaurants, where you can have a snack during the day or dine in a romantic setting, watching the sunset.
To the south of the lower Hayfa Neve David district is located the no less popular beach area of Hof-Ha-Carmel, which you can learn by the same towers nearby. A breakwater that protects the coast in this part of the Hayfa bay, holds back the sea element and ensures the absence of waves. This attracts here families with children from among tourists and Aborigines, so on weekends the beach is crowded. Infrastructure Hof-Ha-Carmel is not inferior to Bat-Galim: the same cozy restaurants, playgrounds for children, rental of beach equipment and sports equipment. According to the results of the Ministry of Ecology of Israel, the Dado beach area is the best in Hayfa: two kilometers long and comfortable, with unusually clean sand and water. In addition to the mandatory infrastructure, there is a mini-pool for toddlers, a summer amphitheater and a dance area. The southern part of Dado is great for picnics: there is a place for barbecue. Fans of a measured and quiet rest will enjoy the beaches of Ha-Hof-Ha-Shaket and Kiryat-Chaim. The second can be called quiet only because of its relative unpopularity: there are no breakwaters here, so the waves interfere with bathing. But Ha-Hof-Ha-Shaket protects two breakwaters at once, so the water here is quiet and calm. Both have fenced specialized areas for believers: here are organized days of visits for men and women, when only one sex can rest.
What to do in Haifa
What else to do in Haifa, if the main attractions have already been inspected? Fortunately, this cosmopolitan and versatile city has prepared many more interesting things. The families with children should visit the zoo, located near the metro station “Carmelit”, walk along the park of the same name or the Hi-Bar reserve: everywhere you can see animals and birds of Israel, as well as exotic fauna, for example, Bengal tigers brought from Russia. In Hayfa University for children an archaeological site has been created, where they can try themselves in excavations. Here you can climb to the highest point of the city – 30-meter tower Eshkol, where the best view of the city opens.
Will than pamper yourself in Hayfa and lovers of shopping. It is impossible to pass by the shopping complex “Panorama” with elite boutiques In the Upper City. In the Middle – past Adar district: there is a food market “Talpiot” and the main shopping street Goetzel. Well, admirers of antiques should go to the shops of the street Masad, where they sell real treasures at pleasant prices. In the southern part of Hayfa, there are also shopping centers. In the most remarkable of them, “Castra”, is a unique museum of dolls and unusual puppet shows. Nearby is the picture gallery, the Museum of Archeology and the Israeli “Silicon Valley” – offices of Intel corporations, Netvision and Google.
Hayfa is an extraordinary place with a special charm, in which one wants to return again and again. Amazing nature, noteworthy attractions, cozy streets, tempting restaurants, magnificent Mediterranean Sea and friendly people – in general, everything that is required for a wonderful holiday.