Haifa, the capital of North Israel is located on the trailing slopes of the Carmel Mountain range. Just an hour away from Tel Aviv, Haifa is the third largest city in Israel, and an excellent place to begin your travels. Haifa is a significant and special place due to the picturesque landscapes and cultural diversity. Many religions are practiced in Haifa: Judaism, Islam, Druze, and Bahai but to name a few. The social variety and the breathtaking scenery make Haifa one of the most interesting places on Earth to explore.
The Bahai Temple itself is strategically located in Haifa, and is central to the Bahai religion. The architecture of the temple is world-renowned and a wonder to behold. The nineteen Bahai Gardens which surround the Temple, and extend farther up the mountain slopes have recently been named a World Heritage Site. Each is markedly different from the others and these breathtaking gardens are separated by promenades, terraces, and fountains.
One of the most historically interesting things about the Bahai Gardens is the Shrine of Bab where the remains of the founder of Babism and the promoter of Bahai are laid to rest. The Shrine itself is often reported to be the one of the holiest places on the planet. The Bahai Garden offers free admission, guided tours, and is open all year round for the convenience of travelers.
Aside from the Bahai Temple, there are many other tours Haifa has to offer. If you are interested in seeing a hundred ancient pieces of art, seeing historic Haifa, and discussing religion with multiple religious leaders from different faiths, a guided tour is available of Beit-Hagefen, which is one of Haifa’s oldest areas. Guided tours are available for sightseers in the House of Vine, which is an Arab-Jewish Center, and which epitomizes the coexistence and tolerance between these two religions.
The Arab-Jewish center also offers guided tours for groups of tourists which cover The House of Grace, The German Colony, and Elijah’s Cave, as well as the Bahai Gardens. These guided tours usually last around four hours and are perfect for covering the uniqueness and splendor that Haifa encompasses.
The idea behind Haifa is that every single person has a right to be an individual, and the atmosphere of the neighborhoods reflects that. The small Arabic neighborhood of Wadi Nisnas is another place where guided tours are available. During the religious holidays such as Ramadan, Christmas and Hanukah, the whole vicinity becomes a huge art gallery. Paintings and artwork done by Jewish and Arab artists are displayed outdoors. Though it is possible to walk through the neighborhood alone, a guided tour lasting approximately one and a half hours will make this experience one to remember. All of the guided tours mentioned in this article are available in Hebrew, French, Arabic, and English so you can be sure to enjoy the full splendor of the experience.
The city of Haifa will not disappoint. Aside from the many historic features that this colorful and wondrous location shows, there are also zoos, restaurants, and boutiques which will give you a true taste of this unique culture.