Fun things to do in Haifa

  • Painted doorways, Haifa
    Painted doorways, Haifa
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    Paris square by night
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  • Paris square during the day
    Paris square during the day
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Most Viewed Things to Do in Haifa

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    Sacre Coeur House

    by iblatt Updated Feb 4, 2011

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    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.

    Maison de Sacre Coeur, Haifa Maison de Sacre Coeur, Haifa Maison de Sacre Coeur, Haifa
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    Sail Tower ("Beit Ha-Mifrass")

    by iblatt Updated Feb 4, 2011

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    The most prominent modern building in the skyline of downtown Haifa is Sail Tower. Its construction was finished in 2002, and it was the highest skyscraper in Haifa until 2003.
    It won world reputation due to its original futuristic shape. It has 29 floors, with a height of 137 meters. The Sail Tower is part of the Haifa District Government Center named after the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

    Officially named "Sail Tower", and meant to represent a ship's sail in the port city of Haifa, many Haifa residents refer to it as "Rocket Tower", as it reminds them of a rocket leaning against its lanch pad.

    Leading from Palyam Street to the Sail Tower there is a promenade of decorative arches, and on the stone-paved floor there are replicas of old drawings and maps of Haifa, which are well worth a visit. They depict Haifa as it was in its infancy, during Daher-el-Omar's rule in the 18th century and during the Ottoman rule in the 19th century, with a good portiob of romanticism and"orientalism": camel caravans proudly prodding along with the Haifa bay at the background, Bedouins' tents which look anything but authentic, but much prettier...

    Sail Tower, Haifa Promenade of arches leading to Sail Tower, Haifa Qiryat Yitzhak Rabin Government Center, Haifa Replica of old drawing: Replica of old drawing: camels with Haifa Bay
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    Lower City: Rehov Ha-Atzma'ut

    by iblatt Written Jan 23, 2011

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    Independence Street (Rehov Ha-Atzma'ut) is one of the main thoroughfares of the Lower City of Haifa. It dates back to the 1930s and the British Mandate period. The British Mandate authorities developed the port of Haifa. They paved "Kings Way" on the water's edge, and then reclaimed more land to build the port and widen Kings Way. In order to keep the street magnificent and beautiful they even put all the elctricity infrastructure underground.
    The office buildings along the street were mostly built in the same style, known as the International Style (or Bauhaus style).

    Kings Way, which used to be the pride of Haifa in the 1930s and 1940s, gradually declined in later years. The office buildings were occupied by customs brokers and importers. A "Sailors' Market" developed on the pavement, selling smuggled "luxury goods". Ladies of the night patrolled the street after dark.

    Nowadays the street has been cleaned up and made decent again, many houses still look rather dilapidated and await the Mayor'd plans to make Rehov Ha-Atzma'ut the vibrant and lively center of a new entertainment area.

    Independence Street (Rehov Ha-Atzma'ut), Haifa Independence Street (Rehov Ha-Atzma'ut), Haifa Independence Street (Rehov Ha-Atzma'ut), Haifa
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    The Haifa Courthouse

    by iblatt Written Jan 19, 2011

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    The modern courthouse building was commissioned in 1994 and inaugurated in 2001. It is a monumental building with an imressive facade and interior, designed by the architect pair Hayutin. It certainly stands out in the run down area of the lower city of Haifa, along with the Rabin Government Compound and a few other official buildings.
    The view from its hallways encompasses the sea and the port on one side (front) and the Wadi Salib neighborhood on the other (at the back).

    The main criticism of this monumental architectural creation is that it stands in total contradiction to its surroundings, especially the Wadi Salib area at the back.
    The courthouse is worth visiting for its architectural values, and the debate continues...

    Haifa courthouse Haifa courthouse Haifa courthouse
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    Architecture: The APC Bank Building

    by iblatt Updated Jan 18, 2011

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    The Lower City of Haifa is a showcase of architectural gems, built in different styles.
    The building of the Anglo-Palestine Company (APC) Bank was planned by the famous architect Alexander Baerwald in 1924.

    Baerwald was a German Jew who served as an officer in the German Army in WW I, lived in Berlin, and immigrated to Haifa in 1925. He was the first head of the faculty of architecture in the Technion. Baerwald developed the "Eretz-Israel Style", which was conceived as a mixture of Western and Middle Eastern architecture.

    The APC bank building is made of stone; it has interesting long vertical windows, Gothic motifs, and most interestingly: Medalions showing enlarged ancient Hebrew coins (see photos).

    APC Bank, Haifa APC Bank, Haifa APC Bank, Haifa APC Bank, Haifa
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    "House of Grace"

    by iblatt Updated Jan 16, 2011

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    This is a haven of peace, quiet and good deeds in the center of modern Haifa. You enter a narrow lane off the busy Palyam Street, and you find yourself in another world. This is the Greek Catholic Church of Our Lady, no longer in use as a parish church, which was given in 1982 to Camille Shehada, a good man who had a dream: to rehabilitate discharged prisoners in his own family home, to give them a shelter and a family until they were ready to go out to the world outside and be independent. He built his house on the second floor of one of the church buildings, and founded a charity which his widiw and children have continued to run after his premature death. The charity is also involved in assisting needy families and homeless people. There are 50 volunteers working for the House of Grace charity.

    You can visit the church, built in the basilica style, and the courtyard, and feel the "positive energy" which permeates this place.

    House of Grace, Haifa House of Grace, Haifa Church of Our Lady, House of Grace, Haifa Church of Our Lady, House of Grace, Haifa House of Grace, Haifa
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    Abdul Hamid's Clock Tower

    by iblatt Updated Jan 16, 2011

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    In the year 1900 Haifa was under Ottoman rule. Sultan Abdul Hamid the Second celebrated the 25th anniversary of his reign, which was quite a feat considering many sultans did not survive that long in office. He had many diverse interests, including carpentry, poetry, wrestling, trains and clocks.

    On the occasion of his anniversary he ordered 100 clock towers built throughout his empire, seven of these in Israel / Palestine. Haifa was one of those lucky cities that got a clock tower in 1900.

    The Haifa clock tower was erected in front of the Al-Jarina mosque. It has six floors, and on the fourth floor there used to be four clocks, one on each side. The clock tower was the tallest building in Haifa in 1900, but today it is dwarfed by the high-rise buildings of the government offices nearby (see my 3rd photo). However, the tower does retain its original pride and elegance.

    Ottoman clock tower, Haifa Ottoman clock tower, Haifa Clock tower dwarfed by government building
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    King Faisal's Column

    by iblatt Updated Jan 15, 2011

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    One of the main intersections of Haifa's lower city (Independence Blvd, Hativat Golani Rd and Palyam Blvd) is named after King Faisal. This is the Arabian leader who, with his father Hussein, led the Arab Revolt against the Ottomans during WW I (remember "Lawrence of Arabia"?).

    The British colonial authorities were generous enough to promise him a kingdom in return for his favors; at first it seemed that he would become the monarch of Greater Syria, but then the British remembered that they had actually promised this land to the French. So, instead, Faisal was given the territory of Iraq in 1921, and became King of Iraq. Unfortunately, he died prematurely of a heart attack while in Switzerland in 1933, and this is where Haifa gets into the story.

    King Faisal's body was tranferred by sea to the port of Haifa, and was flown to Iraq from there. A memorial column was erected in Faisal's memory, bearing the inscription: "In memory of the transfer of the body of His Majesty,the great king of the Arabs, King Faisal the First". On the column you can also read King Faisal's saying: "Independence is taken and not given, the freedom of the people is in its own hands".

    Interestingly, in Baghdad there is a main road called "Haifa Street", and at its end there is an equestrian statue of King Faisal!

    King Faisal's Column, Faisal Square, Haifa
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    Morning walk at Haifa's downtown

    by edvin_br Updated Jan 8, 2011

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    If you are in Haifa and have a few hours to spend, than this is my recommendation. Taking a 2-3 hours walk around the streets and the alleys of the downtown (also called "Hadar") can be a great experience. the authentic architecture is seen in every street corner. many small shops and businesses located in the area also. In the end of the walk you can choose one of many reastarants in the area and have a good local meal and a good caffe.

    Authentic architecture Christmas decorations Hummus dish Haifa's downtown

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  • Places you could visit if you're based in Haifa

    by gezergirl Written Aug 16, 2009

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    If you are based in Haifa, you are within a 2 hour distance (max.) of northern Israel.
    It's worth renting a car and going to the sea of gallilee or Rosh Hanikra (Israel's border w/Lebanon), which has beautiful cliffs and seascape (1-1/15 hrs. away). Also the Golan heights (1.5 hrs) or Nazareth (less than an hr).
    You could also take the train (or bus) to the old city of Acre (Acco in Hebrew), half an hr, and don't forget the Bahai garfens in Haifa itself.

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    Haifa Freebies

    by gilabrand Updated Feb 23, 2009

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    Haifa is a beautiful city, but tends to fall under the radar in the tourist department. So here are a couple of free attractions to whet your appetite:

    · Hecht Museum – art and archaeology, on the campus of Haifa University, on the Carmel (Sun/Mon/Wed/Thurs 10 am – 4 pm; Tues. until 7 pm; Fri. 10 am – 1 pm; Sat. 10 am –2 pm)
    · Castra Biblical Doll Museum – dolls handmade by a Holocaust survivor who says they saved her life, Castra Mall (Sun – Thurs 10 am – 9 pm; Fri. 9 am – 2 pm; Sat. 10am – 2 pm)
    · Bahai Gardens – incredibly gorgeous and free, but you need to call and make a reservation (8 am – 5 pm)
    · Elijah’s Cave – religious site so dress accordingly, Allenby Street (Mon-Thurs 8 am – 5 pm; Fri 8:30-12:45)
    · Ursula Malbin sculpture garden – grassy garden full of delightful bronze statues of children and animals, no need to be an art connoisseur to appreciate these, Hazionut Street overlooking the Bahai Gardens
    · Carmelite Monastery – religious site, so again, cover up, Stella Maris next to a fabulous lookout over Haifa Bay

    Another freebie: Bathroom art , Talpiot market
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    Hangging Out at "Hadar"

    by edvin_br Updated Feb 1, 2008

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    Hadar, the total oppossite of the German Colony. No more expensive cafes and restaurant... Hadar is the real city center! A lot of noise, people, shops of every kind and the most important - the local fast food restaurant that sells falafel, humus and shawarma that is the local cuisine.
    Some people wouldnt call it a must see but its the true downtown of Haifa and no local can deny it.

    Hadar, street scene Many mall businisses Shawarma

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    The Sail Tower

    by edvin_br Updated Jan 27, 2008

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    People (like me... :]) who have strong passion to skyscrapers will easily notice the many highrises located in different parts of the city.
    My favourite is the "Sail Tower" which rises up to a height of 137 m!!
    The tower is located very close to the cities port and to the downtown. Its also can be seen from the city hills and from the Carmel Mountain.
    Another business district is located in the southern entrance to the city where there are the IEC Tower (the home of "Hevrat Hashmal") and many othey high-tech companies.

    The Sail Tower seen from uptown District Government Center
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    Wadi Nisnas

    by Sharon Updated Sep 23, 2006

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    This neighborhood is Located not far from the German colony.
    Its residents are mostly (christians) arabs but also Jewish people (and maybe others). This is still one of a few places where you see both Jewish and arabs live together peacefuly for years.

    There is not too much to do here so even if you feel like visiting here dont waste more then 2 hours including a stop at one of the arab restaurants.
    I've been there few days before Xmas to see the festivity and the xmas stuff at the shops (something which i like since we never grew up on this things).

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    The Artists Village of En Hod

    by Bregman Updated Feb 13, 2006

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    Not far from Haifa, on the Carmel mountain, there is the artists village of En Hod. This is a perfect place to come on a sunny Saturday. Enjoy the pine forest, look down to the Mediterranean and stroll around the village enjoying the artworks and the artists' workshops. It is also the home of the Marcel Janko Dada museum. Until his death, Marcel Janko lived here in En Hod.

    En Hod En Hod Couple in Sardine Can by Benjamin Levy
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