About Haifa

Haifa is the largest city in Northern Israel and the third-largest city in the country, after Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, with a population of about 267,800. The city is a seaport located on Israel’s Mediterranean coastline in the Bay of Haifa, about 90 km north of Tel Aviv, and is one of the country’s major industrial centers.

Haifa is built on the slopes of the historic Mount Carmel. Known in the 3rd century CE as a dye making center, the city is today home to a mixed population of Jews and Arabs, as well as to the Bahá’í World Centre, and two world-class academic institutions, the University of Haifa and the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. High tech companies such as Intel, IBM, Microsoft, Motorola, and Google have opened R&D facilities in Haifa in recent years.

Geography


Topography

Haifa is located around 32°49°N, 34°59°E on the Israeli Mediterranean Coastal Plain, the historic land bridge between Europe, Africa, and Asia. Located on Mount Carmel around Haifa Bay, the city is split over three tiers. The lowest is the center of commerce and industry including Haifa Port. The middle level is located on the slopes of Mount Carmel and consists of older residential neighborhoods, whilst the upper level consists of modern neighborhoods looking over the lower tiers. From here views can be had across the Western Galilee region of Israel towards Rosh Hanikra and the Lebanese border. Haifa is located approximately 90 kilometers (55.9 mi) north of the city of Tel Aviv, and has a large number of beaches on the Mediterranean.

Climate

Haifa has a Mediterranean climate with hot, humid summers and cool, rainy winters. The average temperature in summer is 26 °C and in winter, 12 °C. Snow is rare in Haifa, but temperatures around 6 °C can sometimes occur, usually in the early morning. Humidity tends to be high all year round, and rain usually occurs between October and April.

Neighborhoods

Haifa is made up of a large number of neighborhoods which have developed over time throughout its history. As a general rule of thumb, the older neighborhoods are located on the second tier of Mount Carmel and the newer ones on the third tier, although there are neighborhoods on the lowest level, perhaps most notably the German Colony which has recently been restored. Haifa is a diverse city with Arab and Jewish population groups who live in neighborhoods across the city.

Economy

The industrial region of Haifa is north of the city, near the Kishon River. Haifa is home to one of the two oil refineries in Israel (the other located in Ashdod). The Haifa refinery is capable of processing about 9 million tons (66 million barrels) of crude oil a year and is the center of a wide array of petrochemical industries located in and around Haifa. Its twin 76-meter cooling towers, built in the 1930s, have long symbolized the city of Haifa.

MATA”M (Merkaz Ta’asiya v’Meida/Scientific Industries Center), the largest and oldest business park in Israel, is located at the southern entrance to the city, hosting manufacturing and R&D facilities for a large number of Israeli and international hi-tech companies, such as Intel, Elbit, Zoran, Microsoft, Philips, Google and Amdocs. The campus of the University of Haifa is also home to IBM Haifa Labs.

The Port of Haifa is the leader in passenger traffic among Israeli ports, and is also a major cargo harbor, though deregulation has seen its dominance challenged by the port of Ashdod.

Tourism

The city of Haifa is divided into three topographical levels. The lower city is the commercial center with modern port facilities. The middle level is an older residential zone and the upper level consists of modern neighborhoods, overlooking the sandy beaches of Haifa Bay. The Carmelit connects the upper and lower city, and many neighborhoods are connected by long flights of stairs.

The Bahá’í World Centre, with the golden Shrine of the Báb and the surrounding gardens, is the main tourist attraction of Haifa. The restored German Colony, founded by the Templers, Stella Maris and the Carmelite monastery are also popular tourist sites.

In Haifa area, the artist’s village of Ein Hod attracts many tourists. It was established in 1953 by Marcel Janco, a leading artist of the Dada movement, and it overlooks the Mediterranean coast and the Crusader castle of Atlit. Today, ninety artists and craftsmen have studios there and exhibit their work in the main gallery and other art spaces.

In Mount Carmel national park, visitors can see the caves where Neanderthal and early Homo Sapiens remains were found, and the location where tradition places Elijah’s confrontation with the Ba’al prophets, and where now another Carmelite monastery is located. The Carmel is also a popular hiking area.

Haifa has a wide variety of malls and shopping centers, the largest being Hutsot Hamifratz, Horev Center Mall, Panorama Center, Castra Center, Colony Center (Lev HaMoshava), Hanevi’im Tower Mall, Kenyon Haifa, Lev Hamifratz Mall and Grand Kenyon.

Arts and culture

Despite its image as a port and industrial city, Haifa is the cultural hub of northern Israel. During the 1950s, mayor Abba Hushi made a special effort to encourage authors and poets to move to Haifa. He provided the artist Mane-Katz with a building on Mt. Carmel to house his collection of Judaica, which is now a museum. Hushi also founded the Haifa Theatre, a repertory theater, and the New Haifa Symphony Orchestra was established in 1950. The Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art was opened in 1959. The Haifa Cinematheque, founded in 1975, hosts the annual Haifa International Film Festival during the intermediate days of the Sukkot holiday.

Wikipedia