Haifa – the capital of the North, is the third largest city in Israel and one of its prettiest. Built on the slopes of Mount Carmel, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve the city is surrounded by abundant nature sites, and is the major seaport located on Israel’s Mediterranean coastline in the Bay of Haifa. The History of Haifa dates back to the 3rd century CE. Since then it has been controlled by several civilizations, including the Canaanites, Israelites, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Crusaders, Kurds, the Mamluks, and the Ottoman Turks. At the beginning of the 20th century, Haifa emerged as an industrial port city and growing population center. Today, it is a multicultural city where Jews, Muslims, Christians and other minority faiths live in excellent co-existence and tolerance for many years. Haifa is also home of the World Center of the Baha’i faith and the magnificent Baha’i gardens complex on the slope of Mount Carmel, is a must-see attraction. The city contains an interesting mix of modern neighborhoods and older districts; churches and mosques; respected academic institutions, industrial and high-tech parks, many museums and varied cultural and recreational facilities. The city’s proximity to the sea and its active port contribute to its prominence. The bustling port area lined with trendy cafes, restaurants and galleries draws merchants, shoppers and tourists. The beautiful beaches are popular for sports and recreation, and are filled with people during summer weekends. In addition, because of their excellent surfing conditions, the beaches serve many of Israel’s top sailing enthusiasts and host sailing competitions and other sporting events. Participants are invited to the conference city tour of Haifa which will be held in the afternoon of one of the conference days. Some Sites & Attractions • The Bahai Gardens and Shrine • The Louis Promenade (Yefe Nof) • The picturesque German Colony at the foot of the Bahai Gardens • The Stella Maris Carmelite Monastery (Atop Mount Carmel) • Wadi Nisnas with its charming alleyways • Museums: The Dagon Grain Silo; the National Maritime Museum; Mada-Tech – the Museum of Science and Technology; the Haifa Museum of Art; the Clandestine Immigration and Naval Museum; the Railway Museum; the Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art; the Reuben and Edith Hecht Museum and the Israel Oil Industry Museum.
The Country – Israel offers an almost limitless range of attractions for visitors from every country in the world and for people of every faith. It offers much variety in scenery, history, cultural attractions and a fascinating contrast between the ancient and the modern. So many names that appear on road signs – Jerusalem, Sea of Galilee, Nazareth, Jaffa – will have been familiar since childhood. Modern Israel is a melting pot of different ethnic groups reflecting various cultures. It offers a rich variety of sites and sights – historical, archeological, religious and a tourist infrastructure that caters to every vacation taste: glorious sandy beaches, bustling cities, nature reserves, museums, shopping malls, exotic markets, artists’ colonies, the therapeutic wonders of the Dead-Sea, industrial parks, Hi-tech centers and much more. Israel, small in size, within a few hours you can go from the snowy heights of Mount Hermon to the Judean Desert and the saltiest sea on earth, the Dead Sea, while visiting ancient biblical cities, covered markets and a high-rise metropolis on the way. This is what makes Israel truly a destination with something for everyone In Israel you have to use the word “old” sparingly – the age of most of its cities is counted not in decades or in centuries, but in millennia. The ingenuity and complexity of some of these historical gems have won them a place on the UNESCO World Heritage List. And of course, Jerusalem, which has a history that dates back 3000 years ago – is a holy city to the world’s three monotheistic religions. Jerusalem is a living archeological site, a vibrant blend of ancient and contemporary life. The walls of the Old City and the malls of the New City, Roman Arches, Byzantine moats, Crusader walls and Ottoman ramparts make Jerusalem one big colorful mosaic. Holy shrines, the Western Wall, the Via Dolorosa, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Shrine of the Book that houses the 2000-year old Dead-Sea Scrolls, Mount Zion – the site of King David’s grave and the Last Supper, and the colorful marketplace are only a few of the numerous unique sites in the city. You will be able to enjoy a taste of Israel in some of the optional sightseeing tours which will be published at a later date. Distances are short Israel is a small country. The major cities, Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv and Haifa can easily be reached on leisure touring days without changing hotels. Distances: Ben-Gurion International Airport – Haifa: 115km (71 miles) Ben-Gurion International Airport – Tel-Aviv: 18km (11 miles) Haifa – Tel Aviv: 95km (59 miles) Haifa – Jerusalem: 145km (90 miles) Tel-Aviv-Jerusalem – 95km (59 miles) Jerusalem Tel Aviv Tel Aviv Promenade Old Jaffa – adjacent to Tel- Aviv Alley in Old Jaffa Nazareth – Church of Annunciation Galilee – Gospel Trail, Mt. Tabor Dead-Sea Masada – Dead-Sea Area