Haifa is the third largest city in Israel and its population is 266 thousand Jews, Christian Arabs and Muslim Arabs. It also serves as the international center of the Bahai faith.
Haifa is the northern metropolis of Israel, a center of culture, transportation, and industry and it is one of the three main port cities of Israel (with Ashdod and Eilat).
The city’s varied topography includes the coast of Haifa Bay, and the western slopes of the Carmel mountains and its peaks. At many spots in the city, there are lookout points with views of Haifa Bay, stretching as far as Rosh Hanikra on the border with Lebanon, and on clear winter days, the snowcapped Mount Hermon can also be seen.
The city neighborhoods, especially those on the mountain, are bathed in green, the remains of a Mediterranean forest which once covered Mount Carmel and still exists in the Mount Carmel Nature Reserve south of the city. The wadis which divide the city neighborhoods serve as green lungs and some have become nature reserves with walking paths. At night, the calls of the jackals can be heard in the city and at times, wild boars can be seen climbing up the hillside from the adjacent wadis, looking for available food.
The first settlement of the city of Haifa began during the Late Bronze Age and remains of non-continuous settlement have been found in Haifa and in the surrounding area until the Arab Period in the seventh century. Later, the city was continuously settled from the Crusader Period at the beginning of the eleventh century up until the present. Within the neighborhoods, on the streets and among the modern structures in the city and its surroundings, there are sites bearing witness to the city’s splendid past.