Israel and Haifa
Israel, as rich in history as it is in high tech achievements, is one of the most compelling spots on earth. Here, the world’s major monotheistic religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – emerged, and the foundation for western civilization lay.
For millennia, the Land of Israel was crossed by ancient commerce routes and conquering armies. This land, the meeting place of three continents, has been home to a rainbow of peoples, who have left their mark through different cultures, customs and traditions. Traveling in Israel, it is impossible to miss the remnants of fortresses, shrines, arches and columns that dot every hillside, line every lane.
Within the colorful mosaic that is Israel, the Technion is located in Haifa, capital of northern Israel. Home to over a quarter of a million residents, the city is considered the gateway to the Galilee. Throughout the years, it has also gained a name for its diversity and tolerance. Haifa’s outstanding record of coexistence among its population of Jews, Christians, Muslims and other minorities clearly reflects its cultural and religious harmony.
The State of Israel, despite its small size and limited resources, plays a leading role in the area of Science and technology. With the highest per capita number of scientists and engineers in the world, Israel ranks among the top five countries globally for patents per person. In addition, Israel far outnumbers its European counterparts in the number of companies traded on NASDAQ, and is home to the greatest concentration of high-tech start-up companies anywhere outside the Silicon Valley.
In Israel, nine of every 1,000 workers are engaged in research and development, nearly double the rate of the USA and Japan.
The country has proportionately the highest number of publications in science and engineering worldwide. It has a larger share of publications co-authored with foreign scientists than any other nation.
An hour’s drive from Tel Aviv, the city is less than two hours away from Jerusalem. Overlooking the entire northern coast of Israel, Haifa is bordered on one side by forest and on the other side, sea. In between sits a bustling center of high tech, housing giants of both Israeli and foreign industry, this technological hub has spawned some of the world’s most important scientific breakthroughs.
Haifa, Israel's third largest city and northern capital is the heart of it all! Situated in a broad natural bay between the beautiful Mediterranean Sea and the inspiring Carmel Mountain, the city's terraced landscape offers a rich variety of breathtaking panoramas, giving the observer the sensation of being on a heavenly peninsula. To the Northeast, across the sparkling waters of the harbor sits the medieval walled fortress city of Acre. Directly north, in clear weather, beacon the heights of Rosh Hanikra, the white cliff, checkpoint on the Israel-Lebanon border. Further East towers the snowcapped peak of Mount Hermon.
Haifa is home to 250,000 inhabitants, members of five different religions, living side by side in harmony, peace and mutual respect. A rich tapestry of contrasts and colors, varying cultures, and ethnic groups makes up the fabric of life in Haifa. Secular, Religious and Ultra-Orthodox Jews live side by side with Christians, Muslims, Bahai and Druze.
Wadi Nisnas, with its colorful souk and bustling streets is an authentic Middle Eastern neighborhood. Close at hand, reside the carefully manicured Bahai gardens and the glittering gold dome of the Bahai Shrine, World Centre of the Bahai faith [declared by UNESCO as the eighth wonder of the world].http://www.goisrael.com/Tourism_Eng/Articles/Attractions/Pages/The%20Bahai%20Gardens.aspx
The Carmelit monastery of Stella Maris ("Star of the Sea"), headquarters of the Roman Catholic Order resides on the summit of the Carmel above Haifa, on a spot considered holy since the dawn of time. Oracles and shrines were built here for the pagan god Carmel, Canaanite Baal and Roman Zeus.
All city synagogues, mosques and churches are open to the public.
Just over the crest of the mountain, minutes away from the Carmel park, are the picturesque Druse villages of Usfiyah and Daliat el Karmel. The Carmelite monastery, Mukhraqa, where Elijah the prophet challenged and defeated the priests of the Canaanite god Baal, is also nearby.
Haifa is a city on the rise, built on three levels: Downtown (old city, port and coast), the middle city (Hadar HaCarmel) and the upper city (Carmel and Ahuza). The change of altitude over such a short distance is emphasized by the only subway of Israel, the Carmelit, which travels from almost sea level downtown, through the middle city to the Central Carmel (280 meters above sea level) in 6 minutes.
To emphasize these three major sections of the city, quaint old stone houses alternate with modern glass walled towers as the eye follows the natural rise of the city slope. Red tiled roofs of the German colony dating from the Temple period (1869), bustling commerce and noisy produce animate the downtown district at the base of the mountain. The Hadar district, midway up the mountain, offers well-kept pedestrian malls and colorful shops. Finally, at the top, the Carmel district features elegant, tree lined streets and residential neighborhoods.
Haifa breathes culture with more than a dozen museums exhibiting a large variety of collections. Archaeology, art and sculpture, whatever subject amuses your fancy, Haifa holds a variety of wonders. The Haifa Museum of Art, the National Science Museum, the Maritime Museum, the Railway Museum, the Tikotin Japanese Art Museum, the Natural History Museum and Zoo and the Prehistoric Museum are open all year round. The Haifa University offers a visitors' center and the Hecht Museum with rare archaeological artifacts and French Impressionists paintings. The Mane Katz Museum, formerly the artist's home, exhibits his works and collections.
Music and film are at home in this magnificent city with an annual international film festival as well as a Jazz and Blues festival in the port of Haifa. Park concerts and evening delights presented by the Haifa Symphony Orchestra await concert lovers everywhere.
Comedy and drama, Israeli and foreign alike, are staged by the internationally acclaimed Haifa Municipal Theatre, for the pleasure and amusement of theatre fans of all ages.Dazzling by day, sparkling at night, Haifa is alive with sun and sand, cool mountain breezes, deep forest trails, beauty and the joy of living. Traditional, contemporary, sophisticated, relaxed, Haifa is a winning combination. Theatres, museums, cinemas, restaurants, side walk cafes, discos, elegant hotels, boutiques and air-conditioned shopping malls, pearly beaches, water sports bay cruises, a Central Park and Zoo.
Haifa, the gateway to the north of Israel, less than an hour away from exploring the adventures of the past, makes an ideal base for touring the exciting, colorful, historical sites of Megiddo, Acre, Caesarea, Safad, Nazareth and Tiberias with their Biblical, Crusader, Roman and Cabbalistic legacies. At the day's end, Haifa welcomes you home to a romantic view of the port when the sparkling lights of the bay and the city join the glittering stars to turn Haifa into a dazzling jewel.
For more information about Haifa