Haifa, home of the Baháí World Centre

Monday, 31 March 2014 - 01:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, UNESCO World Heritage, Union for the Mediterranean
Reading Time:  6 minutes

Baháí World Centre © flickr.com - israeltourism/cc-by-2.0

Baháí World Centre © flickr.com – israeltourism/cc-by-2.0

Haifa is the largest city in northern Israel, and the third-largest city in the country, with a population of over 291,000. Another 300,000 people live in towns directly adjacent to the city including Daliyat al-Karmel, the Krayot, Nesher, Tirat Carmel, and some Kibbuzim. Together these areas form a contiguous urban area home to nearly 600,000 residents which makes up the inner core of the Haifa metropolitan area. It is also home to the Bahá’í World Centre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Built on the slopes of Mount Carmel, the history of settlement at the site spans more than 3,000 years. The earliest known settlement in the vicinity was Tell Abu Hawam, a small port city established in the Late Bronze Age (14th century BCE). In the 3rd century CE, Haifa was known as a dye-making center. Over the centuries, the city has changed hands: It has been conquered and ruled by the Phoenicians, Persians, Hasmoneans, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Crusaders, Ottomans, British, and the Israelis. From the 1860s onwards the Temple Society built several German Colonies in Palestine, one in Haifa (in 1869), which marked the beginning of modern Haifa. By prompting the construction of the first pier, these settlers laid the foundation for what should become the important port city of Haifa of today. Haifa became an important hub for Christian pilgrims. Since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948; the city has been governed by the Haifa Municipality.

Baháí World Centre © flickr.com - israeltourism/cc-by-2.0 Mount Carmel by the sea © Zvi Roger/cc-by-3.0 The gardens and Shrine of the Báb © Zvi Roger/cc-by-3.0 Haifa-Bat_Galim_neighborhood-EdoM Downtown and port © Zvi Roger/cc-by-3.0
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Baháí World Centre © flickr.com - israeltourism/cc-by-2.0
Today, the city is a major seaport located in the Bay of Haifa covering 63.7 square kilometres (24.6 sq mi). It is located about 90 kilometres (56 mi) north of Tel Aviv and is the major regional center of northern Israel. Two respected academic institutions, the University of Haifa and the Technion, are located in Haifa, and the city plays an important role in Israel’s economy. Haifa Bay is a center of heavy industry, petroleum refining and chemical processing.

In 2012, a new, the massive development New Haifa Waterfront Plan was announced. According to the plan, the western section of the city’s port will be torn down, and all port activity will be moved to the east (Haifa Port Development Plans). The west side of the port will be transformed into a tourism and nightlife center and a point of embarkation and arrival for sea travel through the construction of public spaces, a beach promenade, and the renovation of commercial buildings. The train tracks that currently bisect the city and separate the city’s beach from the rest of Haifa will also be buried. A park will be developed on the border of the Kishon River, the refineries’ cooling towers will be turned into a visitors’ center, and bridges will lead from the port to the rest of the city. Massive renovations are also currently underway in Haifa’s lower town, in the Turkish market and Paris Square, which will become the city’s business center. In addition, the ammonia depository tank in the Haifa bay industrial zone will be dismantled, and a new one built in an alternative location.

Another plan seeks to turn the western section of Haifa Port into a major tourism and nightlife center, as well as a functioning point of embarkation and arrival for sea travel. All port activity will be moved to the western side, and the area will be redeveloped. Public spaces and a beach promenade will be developed, and commercial buildings will be renovated. In addition, a 50,000 square-meter entertainment complex that will contain a Disney theme park, cinemas, shops, and a 25-screen Multiplex theater will be built at the Check Post exit from the Carmel Tunnels.

In the northwestern part of the port is the Haifa naval base. In addition to units of the Israeli Navy (including the German submarines of the Dolphin class) there are units of the 6th Fleet of the United States stationed. With the takeover of the commercial port by a Chinese company, the US sees its security interests violated and is therefore likely to withdraw its units from the port. Since the port of Ashdod has been taken over by another Chinese company, the US Navy is expected to completely withdraw from Israel (Reuters, 10 May 2018: Striking dockers shut down Israel’s Haifa and Ashdod ports, Newsweek, 14 September 2018: Chinese deal to take over key Israeli port may threaten U.S. naval operations, critics say, Times of Israel, 14 June 2019: US Senate warns Israel against letting China run Haifa port).

Read more on TouristIsrael.com – Haifa, Port of Haifa, The German Colony in Palestine, Wikitravel Haifa, Wikivoyage Haifa and Wikipedia Haifa. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organizations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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