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Haifa Attractions

The modern, port city of Haifa has plenty of attractions available for all ages and areas of interest. There are museums on subjects ranging from Japanese art to clandestine immigration. Haifa is home to holy sites of Christians, Muslims, Jews and even those of the Baha'i faith, such as the cave of Elijah and the majestic Baha'i Gardens.  Then there are the numerous parks, gardens and promenades, offering incredible views of Haifa and the surroundings and perfect for those who need to get out in nature and just run around! Of course one can't forget the prestigious Haifa University and the popular cable car rides that can transport you from the top of the mountain to the bottom and back again! In short, Haifa is the perfect location for any traveler and is just waiting to be explored!


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Nestled in the heart of the mountainous neighborhood of Merkaz HaCarmel is the charming Gan Ha'Em Park, home to the 7.5 acre Haifa Educational Zoo. The Haifa Educational Zoo is considered one of the most contemporary zoos in the world, with no thick walls between the animals and visitors, new cages bringing the animals much closer to the visitors and a pleasant feeling of animals being able to roam in a natural-forest-setting.
Walking along the shady paths one comes into contact with approximately 350 different kinds of animals- including favorites such as monkeys, lions and tigers, rare Israeli species, rare species from around the world, snakes in the impressive reptile house, a walk-through exhibit of water birds and a petting corner for children.
The Haifa Educational Zoo is a perfect family day-out for those in the Haifa region.
 




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The Bahai Gardens in Haifa are stunningly impressive, extending over nineteen terraces and designed in nine concentric circles that extend out from the central shrine. It is here that the members of the Bahai faith established their world centre.
The Bahai faith originates in Iran and the founder of the religion, Baha'u'llah escaped persecution when he fled to Israel. He was so taken aback by the beauty of the Carmel region that Haifa is located in that he decided that the forerunner of the faith shall be buried there. twenty years later the bones of the forerunner of the Bahai religion were interred in Haifa on the site that later became the center for the Bahai faith.
The shrine has a golden, forty-meter-high dome, marble walls and granite pillars, was built in 1953 and is one of the major tourist sites in Haifa. The nine sides of the shrine represent the nine major religions of the world. The gardens were built around the shrine and combine stone, metal, fountains, shrubbery and expansive lawns. Visitors cannot help but be overcome by the beauty of the gardens and in July 2008 UNESCO added the Bahai Shrines and Gardens to the eleven World Heritage Sites in Israel.
 




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The Louis Promenade is known simply as "the Tayelet" by locals and was built by a Haifa couple in memory of their son, Louis Ariel Goldschmidt. The Louis Promenade runs parallel to HaNassi Boulevard and it offers a stunning view of Haifa. On clear days, Rosh Hanikra, Akko and even Mount Hermon can be spotted.
For those wanting to take photographs of the breath-taking view, it is advisable to come in the afternoon as the view can be kind of hazy in the morning hours. Alternatively, come at night for a different kind of view, with thousands upon thousands of sparkling lights




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The Meridian Beach is a lovely beach with a variety of restaurants and bars in close proximity. The beach attracts both locals and tourists, has no loud music that could detract from the experience, pets are welcome and it is not rare to see people swimming together with their canine companions.
There is, in addition, a shallow water area that is ideal for those with toddlers that was created by the breakwater.
Please take into account that the lifeguard services stop at 17:30 and any bathing done after this time is done at one's own risk.
 




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The Aerial Cable Car system on Mount Carmel runs from the top of the mountain, opposite the Carmelite Monastery to the Bat Galim Promenade below and offers a spectacular view of the Haifa bay and surroundings. The Aerial Cable Car System is a fast way to get up or down the mountain.
At the lower terminal is the Yotvata dairy restaurant, famous all over Israel for it's salads and ice-cream. In addition, the downstairs hall at the lower terminal contains an exhibit of a different featured artist that changes on a weekly basis. At the higher terminal there is also a place to buy refreshments.
 




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For those looking for a change of scenery, make your way over to Nesher Park. Nesher Park covers an area of 200 dunams and is located on the northern side of the Carmel Mountain, south of the town of Nesher. The main feature of the park is not for the light-hearted- a seventy-meter suspension bridge that spans a seasonal winter river- Nahal Katia and is a mere fifteen minute walk from the parking area of the park.
The bridge is constructed from steel ropes and beams and sways a people walk across it. The bridge crosses through several different areas of the park, blending into the natural features of the park. From the bridge one can take in a breath-taking view of the surrounding area and an observation deck also offers a stunning view of the northern side of the bridge.
About 150 meters west of the bridge is another suspension bridge that connects different areas of the park.
The Bridge is suitable for all ages and all levels of fitness, making for a lovely family-day-out. In addition, the Bridge is also pleasant in the summer due to the shading of the trees.
 




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Dado Beach is named in memory of David (Dado) Elazar who was the Chief of Staff during the Yom Kippur War. The beach, located across from the Hof HaCarmel train station, is known for the gardens along it's boardwalk, restaurants, coffee shops, free parking, dancing arena, play stations, toddlers pool and amphitheatre.
The beach boasts a long boardwalk which begins at the southern tip of Dado Beach and ends at the northern tip of the Carmel Beach. It is particularly lovely on Saturdays to see the local folk dance the morning/evening away. In the spring and summer months, the dancing begins at 18:00, in the winter/fall months, it begins at 11:00.
There are four lifeguard stations along the beach.
At the northern part of Dado Beach, there are facilities for the handicapped available, adjacent to the north lifeguard station (number one). The facilities include reserved parking, fitted showers and bathrooms and inclines ensuring easy access to and from the beach.
 




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In the twelfth century, when the Crusaders occupied the region, religious hermits began to live in the caves of the Carmel district, emulating Elijah the Prophet who has a strong connection to the region. Within a hundred years, there hermits formed the Carmelite order which spread throughout Europe. The founders of the Carmelite order were exiled at the time of the Mamluke conquest in 1291, returning a number of centuries later. The present monastery and basilica were constructed starting from 1836. The entire collection of buildings across from the Old Lighthouse is known as "Stella Maris."
At the time that Napoleon tried unsuccessfully to conquer Acre, an earlier monastery complex in the same place served as a hospital for his soldiers. Today, a pyramid stands in front of the church as a memorial to the abandoned French soldiers who were killed by the Turks when Napoleon retreated.
The church is beautiful both inside and out, with stunningly vivid marble walls, colorful Biblical paintings and a carved, wooden statue of the Virgin Mary. The cave below the alter is believed to be the cave of Elijah
To the right of the entrance is a lovely nativity scene, a museum with artifacts and a small souvenir shop. A free pamphlet is available with information about the site and the Carmelite order. The view from the complex is stunning.
Be sure to respect the sanctity of the place by wearing modest clothing.
 




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Haifa University was established in 1963 and is situated in the Carmel region, surrounded by the Carmel National Park. The University prides itself on being the most pluralistic institution of higher education in Israel with people from all walks of life, religions, cultures, beliefs and backgrounds learning together in an atmosphere of coexistence, tolerance and respect.
One can enjoy a spectacular view of Haifa and the bay from the lookout point on the Eshkol Tower which is the University's main building. In addition, Haifa University boasts the first museum to be located on a university campus- the Hecht Archaeological Museum that displays thematic exhibits, ancient industry and craft exhibits, and a 2400-year-old sea vessel that was discovered of the coast of Kibbutz Maagan Michael. The Art Wing contains French Impressionist paintings, works from the Jewish School of Paris and pieces of art by victims of the Holocaust.
A tour of the University includes the Visitors Center and the Archaeological Museum and is completely free.
 




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The Haifa Museum of Art is one of the leading art museums in Israel and is dedicated to exploring the world of local and international contemporary art. The Museum boasts over 7,000 eclectic works that reflect the changing trends and movements in Israeli and contemporary art.
The collection can be divided into two sub-divisions- the painting and sculpture collection and the graphic works collection. The Museum houses a unique New Media Center archive with several tens of video works- the goal being to create the first Israeli library/archive of video art and allowing the general public to access it.
Since 1977, the Haifa Museum of Art has been housed in it's present building, in the Hadar district of Haifa in a stone, preserved building. The choice of building for the Museum is specifically meaningful due to it being located at the meeting point of three different neighborhoods; one Jewish, one Muslim and one Christian. This fact reflects the multi-cultural, intercultural role that the Museum plays.
 




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Yefe Nof Street (in English, Panorama Street) is a curving street situated high above the city, passing behind the hotels and offers breath-taking views. Part of the street (through the black iron gates) passes two of the stunning nineteen terraces of the Bahai Gardens. The street also leads through the beautiful Louis Promenade which offers benches for those who need to rest their weary feet.
Make sure to walk the road on a clear day when Akko, Rosh Hanikra and even Lebanon can be viewed. Yefe Nof is simply stunning, no matter what time of day or night one visits.
 




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Elijah's Cave is located opposite the Carmelite Monastery on Allenby Street. It is one of the most famous and important caves for members of monotheistic faiths, significant for Jews, Christians, Muslims and Druze.
According to tradition, the prophet Elijah hid in a cave when fleeing from the wrath of King Ahab of Israel. Few historical sources identify the exact location of the cave and belief that this is the cave is based on tradition.
Muslims refer to the cave as "el-Hadra" meaning "the green" as Elijah is referred to by them as "the green prophet".
Christians established a monastery above the cave, devoted to the Carmelite order and Elijah, their admired saint.
Druze Arabs also regard the cave as a holy place.
In the time of the British Mandate the property belonged to the Muslim Waqf and only when Israel was liberated was it returned to Jewish hands and since then has been maintained by the Authority for Holy Sites.
The walls of the cave are covered with writing left by pilgrims and even by a Roman soldier by the name of Germanous.
People come here in order to pray, celebrate religious rites of passage, learn holy texts and contemplate.
 




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The Sculpture Garden, also known as Mitzpor HaShalom which means "Vista of Peace", displays twenty-nine beautiful bronze sculptures that were all created and donated by the sculptures Ursula Malbin.
Ursula Malbin was born in Germany in 1917. She fled from Germany in 1939, met the sculptor Henri Paquet in Geneva, married him in 1941 and began sculpting in Switzerland. She bought a home in the Ein Hod Artist's Village in 1966 and now splits her time between Switzerland and Israel.
Since 1978 Ursula Malbin donated the twenty-nine sculptures that are displayed in the garden and this park is actually the first park in the world that is dedicated to the works of a single sculptures. The Sculpture Garden has a stunning view of the Haifa bay, the hills of Galilee and Lebanon.
 




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Wadi Nisnas is an Arab neighborhood in Haifa made up of approximately 8,000 inhabitants. Nisnas is Arabic for "mongoose". From the Haifa Museum on Tzionut Avenue, one can descend to Wadi Nisnas.
The annual Holiday of Holidays festival is held in the winter during the Jewish Hanukkah festival, the Muslim Ramadan and the Christian Christmas. The neighborhood becomes an outdoor art gallery with tens of pieces of art by Arab and Jewish artists from all over the country. Each year the festival has a theme that the artists must adhere to when creating their pieces.
The colorful Wadi Nisnas neighborhood is decorated with the pieces of art of various local artists and is a must for any visitor interested in art, sculpture or cultural identity.
 




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At the foot of the Bahai Gardens, lies the German Colony. The story behind the area is that in 1868 Christoph Hoffman and Georg David Hardegg came from Germany to Haifa. The men were members of the Templar Society who are credited with developing Haifa; at the time Haifa was a town of just 4,000 people.
The main street in the German Colony was one of the most beautiful streets in the period and was much admired- thirty meters wide and lined on both sides with trees, stone houses with red-shingled roofs.  
The German Colony has been undergoing renovations and signs placed in front of various buildings enable visitors to understand more about the beginnings of the colony.
One of the first buildings in the German Colony is the Beit Am (House of the People), which is being renovated today. It served as a house of worship and community center.
In the summer, street theater brings the German Colony to life, with students from Haifa University's Theater Department performing.
 


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