Things to do in Haifa
Haifa, being located on the seashore of Mediterranean Sea, is the 3rd largest city of Israel which offers its guests a wide range of things to do and magnificent sites to visit!
It stands to mention that Haifa was not always present in the list of cities to visit in Israel, but be sure – there always were amazing must-see places which you would love to see when having your trip in Israel. In case you are not sure what to start with, here's a list of places of interest in Haifa which will help you plan your trip.
Haifa Bahai Gardens
Bahai Garden is considered to be one of the best attractions of the Middle East visited by over half a million tourists from all over the world annually. There are 19 gardens constructed as terraces located on the slopes of Mount Carmel. The gardens are interwined with gravel-covered paths and provide a magnificent panorama of the famous Haifa Bay.
Geometric flowerbeds, shady alleys, hedges, gilded lanterns and sculptures – all these terrific things can be found here. Variety of shapes and colors, seemingly incompatible and eclectic, create a unique harmony.
The centerpiece of the Bahai Gardens is the tomb of Bahai faith founder – the famous Bahaullah, Persian Mirza Husayn-Ali Nuri.
In 2008 Bahai Gardens were enlisted in World Heritage Lists by UNESCO.
The German Colony in Haifa
Germans and Israeli Haifa - a puzzling conjunction indeed. Nevertheless, this Haifa district appeared here due to Germans becoming one of the most beautiful districts of the city. In 1868 several families from German Wurttemberg came to Israel and settled in Haifa. They represented a Christian community of Templers. The Templers movement was revived here in the middle of XIX century and immediately started fulfilling their noble mission – they had to prepare the humanity for the second coming of Messiah. In order to be closer to the place where Messiah will come to us they moved to Israel.
In 1872 250 Germans inhabited the district which was later called the German Colony and started raising houses according to state-of-art European technologies, as well as warehouses, workshops, pharmacies, bakeries, shops.
When World War I broke out the British forces deported the settlers. In early 30's many tamplers became fascists and by 1943 all Germans were deported from Israel. In 1948 the German Colony came under control of Israeli state.
Today the German Colony district is considered to be the best area for shopping and promenades.
Things to do in Haifa – Flea Market
Flea market in Haifa is one of the oldest in Israel. It is relatively small. Traders and antiques lovers come here every day, but the market becomes most populous and attractive on Sundays when collectors from all over the country gather here thus attracting more sellers.
As most flea markets all over the world, Haifa Flea Market offers all kinds of incredible amount of junk, but the chances to find real msarterpieces are high especially if you look for ceramics, copper items and statuettes.
Gan Ha'Em Zoo in Haifa
Haifa Zoo is a picturesque nature reserve, zoo and botanical garden. It takes over 3 hours to explore its territory in full. There are over 100 species of reptiles, animals, mammals and birds here. In addition to "traditional" inhabitants of each zoo – tigers, wolves, bears, hyenas and large apes - one can find here various snakes, reptiles and alligators as well as monkeys. All animals are kept in conditions close to natural.
Kids will be excited to visit local petting corner and ruffle bunnies, dappled dear, hamsters, goats and other animals. Library, botanical garden, prehistoric museum and the Institute of Biology are located here as well.
Stella Maris Carmelite Monastery
Haifa Carmelite Monastery, founded in 1291, is considered to be one of the oldest monasteries in the world. This is world's main Catholic monastery of Carmelite Order, founded in early XIII century by monks who arrived to the Holy Land during the Crusaders period. History of the monastery is complex and sometimes tragic –many times it was broken and even almost destroyed by armies of many countries by order of their rules who wanted to defeat the Holy Land.
The monastery is located above the cave where, according to the legend, Eliyahu the Prophet hided from king Ahab. At the entrance to the monastery above the door there is a symbol of the Order - Mount Carmel, above which rises the cross and the sword of Eliyahu the Prophet. The church is constructed as Latin cross. Its architecture is characterized by clarity and rigor of the lines and the lack of architectural excesses.
Inside the church you will find beautiful stained glass windows and unusual ceiling frescoes depicting scenes from the Old and New Testaments of the Italian artist Luigi Poggi.
Cave of Eliyahu the Prophet
As the legend says, Eliyahu the Prophet hided in this cave, located at the foot of Mount Carmel, from king Ahab. As of today, the cave became a real pilgrimage center for Christians, Jews and Muslims. Coming here, people pray, ask for healing, help and enlightenment.
The Arab Market in Haifa
If you want to feel what a real middle east market is, be sure to visit the Arab market in Haifa. Nothing has changed here over the centuries. Cart pulled by a donkey is quite a common sight. Head is spinning from the indescribable mix of smells of cardamom, cumin, incense andendless amounts of dried fruit on the shelves.
Being at the Arab market in Haifa do not forget to try falafel, national Israeli dish.
And – keep to the main rule when visiting Arab market - bargain!