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Israel's biggest cruise port city (and third-biggest city overall), Haifa was ruled for four centuries through the Ottomans and progressively raised the mountainside region into a cosmopolitan city whose port served the entire Middle East. In 1902, Theodor Herzl with excitement named it the town for the future. The town may be the world center for that Baha'i belief, and also the most dramatic landmark around the city's mountainside may be the gleaming golden dome from the Baha'i Shrine, set among absolutely striking round grass balconies that fill the slope all the way through. Haifa is varied, vibrant, historical, and stylish, much like a representative testament of Israel itself.
 
The area is split into three primary levels, each crisscrossed by parks and gardens: the main harbor lower below Hadar HaCarmel, an industrial shopping area in the centre and Merkaz HaCarmel, using the most stylish, and up market hotels and lots of restaurants, on the top.
 
Probably the most striking feature from the stunning gardens that make up the focal point of Haifa may be the Shrine from the Bab, whose superbly gilded dome rules-and fires up-the city's skyline. The refurbished shrine from the Bab, revealed in April 2011, gleams wonderfully with 11,790 gold-glazed porcelain tiles. The Persian government bodies martyred Bab in 1850. Baha'u'llah's boy and successor built the gardens and shrine coupled with the Bab's remains reburied within 1909. Your building, made from Italian stone and rising 128 ft, beautifully combines the canons of classical European architecture with aspects of Eastern design as well as houses the remains of Baha'u'llah's boy. The dome glimmers with a few 12,000 gilded tiles imported in the Netherlands. Note: the Shrine from the Bab is really a pilgrimage site for that worldwide Baha'i community site visitors towards the shrine are requested to decorate decently.
 
It is just one street-really an extensive boulevard-but "The Colony" packs ever (with explanatory placards), interesting architecture, great restaurants, and beautiful spots for individuals-watching. Ben Gurion Boulevard was the center of the late-19th-century colony established through the German Templer religious reform movement. Along each side are robust one- and 2-story stone houses with pointed red-colored-tile roofs. Many bear German names, dates in the 1800s, scriptural inscriptions over the doorways, and old wooden shutters framework narrow home windows. Neglected for a long time, the German Colony has become among the city's most attractive (and flattest) walks.
 
Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art- Established in 1957 by Felix Tikotin, this elegant venue adheres towards the Japanese tradition of exhibiting beautiful objects which are harmoniously using the season, so exhibits change frequently. Japan atmosphere, produced simply by sliding doorways and partitions made from wood and paper, improves a presentation of scrolls, screens, pottery and porcelain, lacquer and metalwork, works of art from the 3 schools, and fresh-flower plans.
 
Cruise Pier
The Port of Haifa is the largest seaport of Israel and plays an important role both as cargo and passenger port. Several cruise ships can dock at the same time north of the city center, which is located nearby. There are several piers, but it's difficult to predict where exactly you will dock in the harbor. The port has a very modern cruise terminal. For many, Haifa is the ideal base for an excursions to Jerusalem or Tel Aviv. Near the port several transportation options for these excursions can be found.

Getting around in Haifa
The Port of Haifa lies within walking distance of downtown and most of the sites. The area is hilly with steep roads. Not far from the harbor you can take the funicular to make the walk a little easier.

If you want to go to Jerusalem better choose for a taxi or bus. There are several good options. To Tel Aviv you can easily take the train, but a bus or taxi are also possible.

Attractions
Modern Haifa is a bustling port town, but unlike many industry-focused cities, its landscape of steep cliffs rolling down to the shore gives it a beautiful setting. This is enhanced by the enormous and thoroughly beautiful Baha'i Gardens which dominate the central city in a series of cascading terraces. This major highlight in any Haifa itinerary is also an example of the modern town's overall harmonious approach to life. As well as being a centre for the Baha'i sect, Haifa's mixed population of Jews and Arabs is much less segregated here than elsewhere.
 
Baha'i Shrine and Gardens
The extraordinary Baha'i Gardens are Haifa's number one tourist attraction, and the Baha'i Shrine, with its golden dome, is the city's landmark monument. It contains the tomb of Iranian Mirza Al Mohammed, who declared himself 'Bab' ('gateway' to God) in 1844 and founded the Baha'i faith. Ali Mohammed was assassinated in Tabriz (Iran) in 1850, and his successor, Mirza Hussein Ali, who became known as Baha-u-Illah, fled to the Ottoman Empire where he proclaimed himself Imam in 1868. He died in 1892, having been held in captivity at Acre for 24 years. His followers secretly brought the remains of his predecessor, Mirza Ali Mohammed, from Iran to Haifa and built his tomb here. Today, the terraced gardens and shrine are an incredibly tranquil and beautiful memorial as well as an immaculate example of garden landscaping. UNESCO has declared them a World Heritage Site for their cultural as well as natural beauty. For those of the Baha'i faith they are also an important place of pilgrimage. The Shrine of the Bab, towards the top of the terraces, contains the tomb of Mirza Al Mohammed.
 
Hours: Outer gardens, daily 9am-5pm; Inner gardens & shrine, daily 9am-noon
Admission: Free (there is also a free tour of the gardens in English at noon every day, except Wednesday) Location: off Yefe Nof Street, Central Haifa -- Official site: www.ganbahai.org.il

Stella Maris Carmelite Monastery
The present Stella Maris Carmelite Monastery was built in 1836 and is noted for its lush frescoes portraying the St Elijah. The interior also contains paintings of scenes of the lives of the prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel and has a cedar figurine of the Virgin known as the Madonna of Mt. Carmel. The Carmelite order was founded on Mount Carmel in 1150 as a hermetic Catholic sect. When the order sided with Napoleon during his battle against the Ottoman Turks in 1799, the Carmelite monasteries were destroyed. In front of the building is the tomb of the French soldiers who were killed during the battle. Afterwards, this monastery was rebuilt but was again razed in 1821 by the pasha of Akko (Acre). There is a small but interesting museum in a room adjoining the monastery entrance. From the monastery, a trail leads down to the grotto known as Elijah's cave, believed to be either the one-time dwelling place or tomb of Elijah.
Hours: Open daily 6am-noon & 3pm-6pm -- Admission: Free --Location: off Tchernikovsky Street, West Haifa

Cable Car
The cable car is the easiest way to get up to Stella Maris Carmelite Monastery and by far the most fun. There are excellent panoramic vistas all the way up. Even if you're not interested in visiting the monastery, the views from the lookout point at the top across Haifa and out to the Mediterranean are worth the ride. Hours: Open 10am-6pm --Admission: One way 19NIS, return 28NIS -- Location: entry from HaHaganah Street, Galshanim Beach

Elijah's Cave
Opposite Stella Maris Carmelite Monastery, a path leads down to Elijah's Cave at the foot of the cape. Believers hold that Prophet Elijah hid here after killing the priests of Ba'al. It is an important pilgrimage site for Jews, Muslims, and Christians who all hold Elijah in high regard. Until 1948, the site was a mosque.

Downtown Haifa
Ben-Gurion Street is the old main street of the German Protestant colony founded here in 1868 by members of the Society of the Temple, who believed that settling in Palestine would bring about the Second Coming. The society continued to exist until the Second World War. The old houses, with their tiled roofs, have all been spruced-up and are very characteristic of their period. The street is now home to Haifa's best dining and shopping. The cemetery of these zealot settlers lies to the northwest, at 150 Jaffa Street, next to a British military cemetery of the First World War.
 
Beaches
Haifa has two mainwhite sandy public beaches. BatGalim Beach is a favorite with water sports enthusiasts. Windsurfers and kiteboarders take to the waves on sunny days. Hof HaCarmel Beach is more about laid-back sunbathing and general lounging. Both have excellent facilities with cafes and sun loungers for rent.
 
Nazareth. The Nazareth where Jesus was raised was a minor village situated within the Galilean hillsides. Present day town of 65,000 is pulsing with energy. Aside from the periodic donkey plying traffic-clogged Paulus Mire Street, there's little that brings up the Bible in contemporary Nazareth.
 
Baptist Chapel- Sunday services (10:30 am) are carried out in Arabic by having an British translation from the sermon the Baptist school nearby also provides services, with increased British loudspeakers, simultaneously. The entire year 2011 marked a century of Baptist presence within the Holy Land.
 
Basilica from the Annunciation- Casa Nova Street increases considerably towards the entrance from the Roman Catholic Basilica from the Annunciation, the biggest chapel in the centre East, consecrated in 1969. It enshrines a little ancient cave dwelling or grotto, recognized by many people Catholics as the house of Mary. Here, they feel, the angel Gabriel made an appearance to her and introduced (hence, Annunciation) that they would conceive "and bear a boy" and "call his title Jesus" (Luke 1). Pilgrim devotions suffuse the website during the day. Crusader-era walls plus some restored Byzantine mosaics close to the grotto testify towards the antiquity from the tradition. The grotto's within the lower chapel. Lookup with the "well," or opening within the grotto, that connects using the upper chapel towards the grand cupola, soaring 195 ft above you.
 
A spiral staircase results in the huge upper chapel, the parish chapel of Nazareth's Roman Catholic community. The artwork from the site, contributed by Catholic towns all over the world, is eclectic within the extreme however the more interesting for this. The portico round the courtyard just within the primary gate is decorated with striking contemporary mosaics, many showing the Madonna and Child in styles with facial expression reflecting the donor nation. The huge primary doorways resulting in the low chapel relate, in bronze relief, the central occasions of Jesus' existence abstract stained-glass home windows superbly counterpoint the dim lighting here.
 
Particularly interesting would be the gifts from Japan (with gold leaf and pearls), Venezuela (a created-wood statue), and Cameroon (a stylized painting in black, whitened, and red-colored). Within the exit courtyard, a glass-enclosed baptistery is made over what's considered to happen to be an old mikvah, a Jewish ritual bath. The adjacent small Chapel of St. Frederick, just past Terra Sancta College, is made on the complex of rock-hewn chambers typically recognized because the workshop of Frederick the Contractor. Observe that parking is difficult to find try Paulus Mire Street or even the side roads below it.
 
Chapel of St. Gabriel - The Greek Orthodox Chapel of St. Gabriel, about 1 km (¾ mile) north from the junction of Paulus Mire and Casa Nova roads, is made over Nazareth's natural water source, a spring named Mary's Well. The Greek Orthodox, stating the noncanonical Gospel of St. James, believe so that it is where the angel Gabriel made an appearance to Mary to announce the approaching birth of Jesus. (On Paulus Mire Street, at the end from the short method of the chapel, is really a round, whitened, stone structure marked "Mary's Well," however this is basically a contemporary outlet.)
 
The ornate chapel was built-in 1750 and consists of a sensational created-wood pulpit and iconostasis (chancel screen), with colored New Testament moments and silver-haloed saints. The walls are embellished with frescoes of figures in the Bible and also the Greek Orthodox hagiography. A small "well" stands within the flowing water, along with a modern aluminum cup provides a satisfying plop because it drops in.
 
Nazareth Village - The shepherds, weavers, along with other figures within this reconstructed Jesus-era community will delight all ages. Using information acquired from historical work completed in the region, this attraction aims to rebuild Jewish rural existence as Jesus might have known it greater than 2,000 years back. Training courses, farms, and houses happen to be produced in manners that could have been used at that time. Interpreters in period costume prepare and work on winepresses and looms, giving a feeling of daily existence. The village is targeted toward Christian vacationers but can also be of great interest to other people there's a re-produced synagogue and mikvah (ritual bath). Led tours with various styles can be found sign in advance about these, as bookings are needed.
 
Souk - Filled with the aroma of fresh spices or herbs, Nazareth's market, within the Old City, has something for everybody, from coffee sets to pastries to T-t shirts and antiques. That old lanes are narrow and shops are small, with goods spilling in to the street, however this souk is much more orderly than individuals in lots of other Israeli metropolitan areas. Whether it does get overwhelming, have a coffee break.
 
The Golan Levels - Considered probably the most fertile land in Israel, the Golan Levels is renowned for its many fine vineyards. While you drive-thru these verdant hillsides, engrossed in wildflowers early in the year, you will also see abundant olive groves and apple and cherry orchards. The entire region used to be volcanic, and lots of shaped volcanic cones and pronounced reliefs still dominate the landscape, especially in the upper Golan. The gentle terrain and climate from the relaxation from the region have in the past attracted much more settlement compared to less hospitable northern Upper Galilee. Today it's the place to find Jewish, Druze, and Alawite towns.
 
Hermon River (Banias) Character Reserve - Probably the most stunning areas of Israel, this reserve consists of gushing waterfalls, dense foliage along riverbanks, and also the remains of the temple devoted towards the god Pan. You will find two entrances, each having a parking area: the sign for that first reads Banias Waterfall another is 1 km (½ mile) farther across the same road and it is marked Banias.
 
The Banias Spring emerges in the feet of mostly limestone Mt. Hermon, precisely where it meets the basalt layers from the Golan Levels. Typically the most popular short route within the reserve can be the Banias Cave, through the path that crosses the spring. Excavations have revealed 5 niches hewed from the rock right from the cave they are what remain of Hellenistic and Roman temples, portrayed in interesting artist's renderings. Three from the niches bear inscriptions in Greek, mentioning Pan, the lover of tunes, Echo, the mountain nymph, and Galerius, certainly one of Pan's priests.
 
Nimrod's Fortress - The dramatic sights of the towering, burly fortress perched above Banias, showing up and vanishing behind each curve from the narrow road leading into it, are members of the treat of a trip to Nimrod's Fortress. And when you are there, the fortress instructions superb vistas, especially with the frames of their arched home windows and also the narrow archers' slits in the walls. In 1218 the Mameluke warlord al-Malik al-Aziz Othman built this fortress to protect the vital route from Damascus through the Golan and Banias, to Lebanon and also to the med coast, against a Crusader reconquista after their 1187 defeat. Nimrod's Fortress is really a highlight for children, having a ladder lower to some vaulted cistern, a shadowy spiral staircase, and unpredicted spaces and crannies. A way leads to the fortress's central tower, or keep, in which the feudal the almighty might have resided.
 
Ocean of Galilee - The Ocean of Galilee is, actually, a freshwater lake, calculating 21 km (13 miles) lengthy from north to south and 11 km (7 miles) wide from east to west. Almost completely ringed by coves and steep hillsides, the river is based on a hollow about 700 ft below ocean level, which makes up about its warm climate and subtropical plant life. This really is Israel's Riviera-on-a-lake, full of beaches and outside entertainment facilities. Its shores will also be dotted with sites hallowed by Christian tradition (observe that a number of these sites demand modest dress) plus some important ancient synagogues. Tiberias itself is among Judaism's four holy metropolitan areas, together with Jerusalem, Hebron, and Tzfat.

Eating Out 

 
Shopping
Haifa has a number of modern indoor shopping malls, including the Panorama Center in Central Carmel, Migdal Haneve'im in the Hadar District, and the Horev Center on Horev Street at the intersection of Pica Street. The Panorama Center, 1 block from the Central Carmel Carmelit stop, is most easily accessible to visitors staying in the Carmel Center, and offers branches of a number of the country's best women's clothing stores, including Dorin Frankfort.
 
Steimatzky bookstores has a branch at the Auditorium Mall, just beside the Haifa Auditorium, 142 Ha-Nassi Blvd., and handy to the hotels in the Carmel Center.
 
Massada Street, with its own Carmelit stop halfway up the mountain between Hadar and the Carmel Center, has become home to a number of small, offbeat antiques and curiosity shops. My favorite stop here is Yad B'homer Contemporary Crafts Gallery at 9A Massada St. (tel. 04/862-9239). Here you can see the work of eight artisans, as well as special exhibits of guest craftspeople. There is also a shelf of very reasonably priced Ethiopian figurines and Judaica. It's open Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 10am to 1pm and 4 to 7pm and Tuesday and Friday from 10am to 2pm. Most shops on the street keep similar hours. A walk down Massada Street gives you a feel for the architectural structure of Haifa's residential neighborhoods, with 1930s and 1940s apartment buildings virtually climbing up and down the mountain on either side of the street.
 
If you take an excursion to the artists' village of Ein Hod, south of Haifa, you can shop for silver, enamel, and gold jewelry; handblown glass; pottery; and other contemporary crafts at the village's official gallery


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