Population    over 272 000 ppl.
   Ethnic composition     Jewish – 82%                    
    Muslim – 4%
    Christian – 13%
    Others – 1%
Density     984.5/km2
Mayor     Yona Yahav
Museums     12
Historic Sites     countless
Twin towns    - San Francisco, USA
   - Boston, USA
   - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
   - Dusseldorf, Germany
   - Newcastle, United Kingdom

The third-largest city in Israel and the largest in the northern region of the country, Haifa is a teeming metropolis of over 290 thousand people. Built into the slope of Mount Carmel, the city has a long and rich history that spans over three thousand years. Beginning with a small settlement known as Tell Abu Hawam in the Late Bronze Age, this port city has changed hands many times. The history of Israel as a whole follows the progression from the Crusades to Mumlak tule to the Ottoman Empire to British Mandate until it became the State of Israel in 1948, and Haifa follows this progression as well. Now a major seaport and college town, Haifa has a lot to offer its visitors.

Haifa, unlike many cities in Israel, has a very large degree of cultural, ethnic and religious diversity. Over a quarter of the population consists of immigrants from the former Soviet Union, and 10 percent of the population is of Arabic extraction. Muslims, Jews, Christians, Druze and Baha'i religions are all represented in the populace, mostly without incident. Mixed marriages are common in the area, as well.

Visitors to the city have options galore. Those who appreciate nature may like to take part in the many natural areas nearby, where wild boar, Egyptian mongoose, golden jackals, owls and chameleons can be found. Haifa also boasts over three miles of beautiful beach, a cave system where early Neanderthal evidence was found and a gorgeous trio of valleys running from the water to the top of Mount Carmel. Those hoping to take in some of the arts during their stay won't want to miss the Ein Hod artist collective, where over 90 talented individuals display their wares for both sale and appreciation. Haifa is also home to a dozen museums, with displays ranging from space to technology to natural history. An educational zoo provides an interesting and fun day trip for families visiting the city.

Haifa is a modern city interspersed with beauty and wildlife and seemingly every turn. If you are planning a trip to Israel, Haifa should definitely be included on the itinerary.

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