Walking through the Arab district of Haifa is one of the most interesting things to do in the city. Apart from the bustling pedestrian zone it’s a normal residential area with old sandstone buildings that lost their glory decades ago, even some churches in one part but what we loved small off the beaten path corners, lovely small alleys, street art, tiny stores with herbs and many many friendly local people. It famous for the mixing cultures of both communities (Israelis and Arabs) that perfectly shows during major holidays when you see funny (and kitch) decoration from different point of view/culture in harmony without ethnic tensions. Of course you may say it’s a tourist trap too I see no reason not to visit the lower street (Falafel Hazkenin) for a good falafel sandwich :)
But I have to admit that apart the numerous souvenir stores the main reason to come here as a typical average tourist is visit the area just to find some good falafel or some oriental sweets :) as expected there are many arab restaurants that offer traditional middle eastern meals and have customers from both communities (our Israeli friends told us to come here because they visit the area often anyway)
Our tour through Haifa started from Louis Promenade which is located on mount Carmel, we got off the car and walked along the promenade that gives excellent views over the city and mediterranean sea. On the distance you can see north of Haifa bay, the medieval town of Akko and bit further the Lebanese borders, on a creal bright day the view is breathtaking for sure. It must be nice after dark too with the city illuminated but unfortunately we were very tired and didn’t make it.
Of course the most important is the Bahai Gardens, you can see then in total beauty from up here, we took countless pictures of the gardens and the several different panoramic views. Then we walked a bit around as we were waiting for the English tour of the gardens to start (you cant do it on your own). The promenade has benches so you can take a break, the promenade isn’t something special itself (just a pleasant place to walk with some sculptures and flowers here and there) but the view from the promenade worth the effort.
If you have some extra time don’t miss Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art, 2’ walk from the Bahai Gardens entrance at Hanassi avenue 89. It’s named after Felix Tikotin a collector of Japanese art and houses a variety of different art items, from 14th century pottery to modern pokemon sculptures!
It’s open Sun to wed 10-16.00, thu 10-19.00, fri 10-13.00, sat 10-16.00
After a short 20’ ride from the center by bus 115 we reached the Stella Maris, a French Carmelite church, monastery and hospice. It was built in 1836 (the old one was destroyed in 1821 by the pasha of Akko Abdullah) over the cave where Elijah lived (according to Carmelites)
In the garden in front of the church is a pyramid that is actually the tomb of French soldiers that fell during napoleon’s war.
Once inside I was surprised because I was expecting tour groups (there was a large one outside) and what I saw was a beautiful peaceful church with only some catholic nuns inside… it was interesting to see them with digital cameras on hand (pic 3). I checked the murals all around for a while, especially the beautiful painted ceiling where you can see Elijah with chariot of fire, along with other famous figures (king David, prophets etc).
Then we visited the cave behind the altar… this is where Elijah supposed to have stayed according to the Christian version (because jews and muslims clain it was a cave down the Carmel mountain but we didn’t try to go there too.
The church is open daily 6.00-12.30 and 15.00-18.00
After visiting the church we walked a bit around, took some pictures of some sculptures (pic 4) and the lighthouse, there’s also a restaurant on a privileged spot but what we liked most was the view, it was nice to see Haifa and its harbor lying in front of us again (pic 5)
Paris square (Kikar Paris ) is one of the main squares in lower Haifa, not far from the main train station and the harbor.
There are some freshly planted palm trees and a Maronite church but the reason we came here was to catch the Carmelit subway and go up to Hadar district so it was a place we had to pass through at least twice every day.
Paris square is the first station of this small, weird cablecar line and has some funny graffiti on the walls.
This is where Jesus fed the multitude with five loaves and two fish.
It contains an ancient mosaic floor which shows the miracle.
Would I return here? Probably not.
Opening 08:30--17:00 Mon to Sat, 09:30--17:00 Sun
This is an ancient site where Jesus preached on many occasions. It is in this town that he met Peter, Andrew, James, John and Matthew. He performed many miracles here.
Peter, one of the disciples of Jesus, was believed to have born here and you can visit his house which has been excavated. It was found under a church.
There is also a very old (second century) synagogue near Peter's house.
Would I visit here again? Yes but not in a large tour group.
Opening times: 08:30--16:15
The Sea of Galilee is picturesque in places. It is small enough to cycle around in an afternoon ---but it is really humid there and so a car may be better! Of course there are many settlements around the Sea for you to explore and enjoy.
We especially enjoyed our visit to Capernaum which is at the north end.
The right bank is a disputed territory. I've also included a photo of part of the Golan Heights. Our tour guide had been in a tank during the war in the Heights.
We spent about 2 hours here ----frankly too long!
This is a site on the River Jordan where The Baptism took place ---although I gather that there are other claimants for this! There were nutrias in the water: these North American rodents have somehow arrived in Israel!
It is part of the Kinneret Kibbutz. YOu can eat at the kibbutz.
You can be baptised here ---or you may prefer to try the River Jordan elsewhere ----as in one of my photos
We spent about an hour viewing the Italianate church here. It was built in the mid-20th century.
It is here that the Sermon on the Mount was given.
It's certainly a tranquil place that lends itself to photography.
Open 08:00--12:00 then 14:30--17:00
Would I go again? Yes ---but in a small group, not with a coach load!
TECHNODA - NATIONAL MUSEUM OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
“Gila will never be a scientist,” Mr. Lucas, my 7th grade science teacher, informed my mother. Despite this dismal evaluation of my abilities, which was sadly true, Mr. Lucas would probably jump for joy to hear that I very much enjoyed my visit to the National Museum of Science and Technology in Haifa (known in Hebrew as “Muzeon Hamada” or “Techno-da”).
Don’t miss it! Apart from the beautiful landmark building (it was built in the early 20th century to house the Technion, Israel’s version of MIT), this museum is great fun. With zillions of hands-on, “push the button,” type exhibits in room after room devoted to things like color, light, puzzles, aeronautics, DNA, chemistry, auto safety, optical illusions, mirrors, printing, waves, energy, etc., you are bound to learn something without even trying. For history buffs, there are collections of old historic photos, old machines and gadgets, inventions by Leonardo de Vinci, and much more. Recent exhibits were devoted to dinosaurs and human anatomy (the controversial German exhibit of plasticized humans was on show here).
And who planted two of the soaring palm trees in the boulevard that leads up to the front door? Albert Einstein and his wife, when they visited in 1924.
Tip: If you don’t like crowds, stay away on Saturdays. This is the day when the museum is deluged by families with kids.
Winter hours (September-June): Sun, Mon, Wed, Thurs – 9 a.m. – 4 p.m; Tues – 9 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.; Friday – 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.; Sat – 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Summer hours (July-August): Sun, Mon, Wed, Thurs , Sat – 10 a.m.-6 p.m; Tues – 10 a.m.-7:30 p.m.; Friday – 10 a.m.- 2 p.m.
This is the main mosque of the Lower City of Haifa.
It stands on Faisal Square, and was built to accommodate the multitude of Muslims who used to go to the small Jereina Mosque.
Its minaret forms part of the skyline of the Lower City.
Today it's a sign of the peaceful co-existence of Jews and Muslims in Haifa.
Ha-Namal St. ("Port Atreet") borders on Haifa port, and runs parallel to the main thoroughfare, Ha-Atzma'ut St.
The street was run down and neglected for many years, but now is one of the main development projects of Haifa. The goal is to make it into a lively pedestrian street and entertainment area and attract lots of young enthusiastic people by day and by night.
How to bring about such a transformation?
Haifa University opened a campus here in 2008 ("Campus Ha-Namal"), in the old customs house of the 1930s. Some private colleges are following through. Old office buildings were converted to modern student dormitories. A few restaurants and cafes have already opened, and this is only the beginning.
It's interesting to visit this area of urban rejuvenation.
The down side: although this area is very close to the seashore, the port of Haifa blocks any access to the shore.
Take a walk on Nathanson Street and Moshe Aharon Street in the Lower City of Haifa, near the port, and raise your eyes to look at the paintings on the exteriors of some houses.
The house on 1 Moshe Aharon St., was built in the 1930s, when this street used to be called Central Street (Merkaz St.) and was an integral part of the old business center of Haifa in those days. A printing office was located here in the 1940s, and the Haifa market was all around on this and neighboring streets. The walls of this house have been painted in gay colors, depicting these scenes from the past. On painted windows you can also see a sailor looking out to a girl in the next window, holding a rose.
On another house which used to be part of the commercial center you can see painted doorways of an antique shop, a florist's, and more...
The back wall of the building where "Ma'ayan Ha-Beera" beerhouse and restaurant is located is also painted with themes appropriate for this establishment.
These paintings rejuvenate and add color and charm to the drab old houses.
Wadi Salib is an interesting neighborhood in the Lower City of Haifa. Nowadays it stand deserted and its houses half crumbling, but the facades still attest to its past glory and great potential.
Wadi Salib got its name from a cross (salib in Arabic) which as engraved on a rock in the wadi. It was first inhabited (in its lower part) by Jews who moved out of the walled city (yes, in the 18th and first part of the 19th centuries Haifa was a smalled town surrounded by a wall). Later it was settled by Muslims, and the more well to do built beautiful mansions higher up, on the hillside, with a view of Haifa Bay and the port out of the porch.
During the 1948 war, when the British left the country and Israeli forces entered Haifa with its mixed Jewish-Arab population, most of the Arab residents of Wadi Salib left in a hurry, although the Israeli authorities tried to reassure them that they would come to no harm. Then followed the years of mass Jewish immigration into Israel, and the empty houses of Wadi Salib became overcrowded with poor Jewish immigrants from diverse countries of origin, from Morocco to Romania, most of them Jewish refugees from Arab countries, who increasingly felt misunderstood, underprivileged and discriminated against by the Ashkenazi-dominated Israeli authorities. These tensions gave rise to the infamous "Wadi Salib Riots" in 1959. Three years later the residents of Wadi Salib were moved to new housing projects, and the houses dell to gradual decay.
Strolling up the stairs and lanes of Wadi Salib evokes these past memories, good and bad. With a little bit of imagination you can admire the past glory of the mansions.
Currently there are plans to restore the beauty and elegance of Wadi Salib, and once again make it into a proud and prosperous part of Haifa.
This is a convent built more than 100 years ago, one of the architecturally impressive buildings constructed by the French in Haifa.
More impressive than the architecture is the dedication of the nuns to their mission: providing residence and nursing care to 60 severely disabled children and adolescents from the age of 1 to 21 year old. They come from all over the country, Jews and Arabs, to the one place which truly gives them tender, loving care.
Carmel Forest, PO 9000, Haifa, 31900, Israel
Good for: Business
The Holiday Inn Bayview is a Resort hotel - offering spa treatments and resort like amenities. If...more
28 Ben Gurion Street, Haifa, Israel
Good for: Solo