The port city on Mount Carmel. Centre of refuge for minority religions.


haifa.jpgIsrael's third city may not have an ancient history, but since its beginning in the 18th Century it has seen many unique dramas unfold, keeping aspects of all of them for the delight of todays visitors. Under the British mandate, Haifa port became the most important port in the eastern Mediterranean and the terminal for the oil pipeline from Iraq. The Bahai shrine of The Bab sits at the centre of 9 magnificent descending and 9 ascending levels of gardens on the slopes of Mount Carmel. Below the Bahai Gardens is the renewed street of German Lutheran Templars who established a farming community in the mid-19th century on the lower slopes of Mount Carmel. A unique community of Ahmediye Muslims, persecuted throughout the Islamic world for their peaceable disposition, lives under Israeli protection and built a mosque atop the West of the mountain with its double minarets. Stella Maris, the centre for the Roman Catholic Carmelite Order, sits at the northernmost edge of Mount Carmel, just above Elijah's cave where the Prophet hid from pursuit by Queen Jezabel. Home of the Naval and Maritime museum, the centre for Marine Archaeology, the University of Haifa and the Technion, which has spawned the technical genius which has driven the Israeli Hi-Tech industry to become the country's most prominent source of export income, Haifa also has in its downtown and midtown many late Ottoman buildings in the Near-Eastern Colonial style, as well as much of the Bauhaus domestic architecture for which Tel Aviv is more famous. It's port is a regular port of call for cruise-ships in the eastern Mediterranean. Visit Haifa with me and see its multicultural life, the magnificent views from Mount Carmel and explore its restaurants and cafes.