Haifa Travel Blog› entry 10 of 15 › view all entries
Haifa is the largest city in Northern Israel, and the third-largest city in the country, with a population of about 266,300. Haifa has a mixed population of Jews and Arabs. It is also home to the Bahá'í World Centre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Haifa, built on the slopes of Mount Carmel, has a history dating back to Biblical times. The earliest known settlement in the vicinity was Tell Abu Hawam, a small port city established in the Late Bronze Age (14th century BCE). In the 3rd century CE, Haifa was known as a dye-making center. Over the centuries, the city has changed hands: It has been conquered and ruled by the Byzantines, Arabs, Crusaders, Ottomans, Egyptians, and the British. Since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, the city has been governed by the Haifa Municipality.
Today, the city is a major seaport located on Israel's Mediterranean coastline in the Bay of Haifa covering 63.7 square kilometres (24.6 sq mi). It is located about 90 kilometres (56 mi) north of Tel Aviv and is the major regional center of northern Israel. Two respected academic institutions, the University of Haifa and the Technion, are located in Haifa, and the city plays an important role in Israel's economy. It has several high-tech parks, among them the oldest and largest in the country, an industrial port and an oil refinery.
In 2005, Haifa had 13 hotels with a total of 1,462 rooms.
Located in the Haifa district are the Ein Hod artists' colony, where over 90 artists and craftsmen have studios and exhibitions, and the Mount Carmel national park, with caves where Neanderthal and early Homo Sapiens remains were found.
A 2007 report commissioned by the Haifa Municipality calls for the construction of more hotels, a ferry line between Haifa, Acre and Caesarea, development of the western anchorage of the port as a recreation and entertainment area, and an expansion of the local airport and port to accommodate international travel and cruise ships.
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 the city, and founded the Haifa Theatre, a repertory theater, the first municipal theater founded in the country.The principal Arabic theater servicing the northern Arab population is the al-Midan Theater. Other theaters in the city include the Krieger Centre for the Performing Arts and the Rappaport Art and Culture Center. The Congress Center hosts exhibitions, concerts and special events.
The New Haifa Symphony Orchestra, established in 1950, has more than 5,000 subscribers.
Haifa has over a dozen museums. The most popular museum is the Israel National Museum of Science, Technology, and Space, which recorded almost 150,000 visitors in 2004. The museum is located in the historic Technion building in the Hadar neighborhood.The Haifa Museum of Art houses a collection of modern and classical art, as well as displays on the history of Haifa.The Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art is the only museum in the Middle East dedicated solely to Japanese art.