Haifa is Israel’s third-largest city, Israel’s chief port and home to 400,000. Draped around the slopes of biblical Mount Carmel, it is a 100-year-old city whose importance burgeoned in the 1920’s and 1930’s as Britain followed its League of Nations mandate over Palestine to create a Jewish homeland. The bustling lower Carmel neighborhood is the port area and where much of Haifa’s daily business is conducted. The slopes of central Carmel are largely residential, and the mountaintop Upper Carmel is home to museums, many hotels and shops. Transportation from the top to the bottom of Mount Carmel is achieved by the Carmelit subway, the Bat Ganim cable car and by road.
Haifa’s iconic symbol is the golden-domed Baha’i Shrine of the Bab, completed in 1953, it is the international headquarters of the Baha’i Faith. Its network of giant white Greco-Roman buildings stuns the visitor with its grandeur. The Shrine of the Bab was further beautified with the completion in 2001 of the “hanging gardens” (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) magnificent terraced gardens that lead from the shrine to the bottom of Mount Carmel. Here is the restored Templer Colony – where the homes and workshops of 19th-century German Christian “Templer” immigrants are now a network of chic stores, bars and restaurants.
Haifa is home to a dozen museums – including a museum of Japanese Art, Israel’s Railway Museum and the Af-Al-Pi-Chen Museum of Illegal Immigration. It is also home to the Technion, Israel’s version of MIT. Haifa’s Wadi Nisnas neighborhood is the center of multi-holiday celebrations reflecting Haifa’s identity as city that is home to Jews, Christians, Muslims and Baha’is.
FROM THE SCRIPTURES
1 Kings 18:19-21 (ESV)
Now therefore send and gather all Israel to me at Mount Carmel, and the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel's table.”
The Prophets of Baal Defeated
So Ahab sent to all the people of Israel and gathered the prophets together at Mount Carmel. And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word.
1 Kings 18:41-46 (ESV)
And Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink, for there is a sound of the rushing of rain.” So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Mount Carmel. And he bowed himself down on the earth and put his face between his knees. And he said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” And he went up and looked and said, “There is nothing.” And he said, “Go again,” seven times. And at the seventh time he said, “Behold, a little cloud like a man's hand is rising from the sea.” And he said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot and go down, lest the rain stop you.’” And in a little while the heavens grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode and went to Jezreel. And the hand of the Lord was on Elijah, and he gathered up his garment and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.