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Cruise Diary: Haifa, Israel

Guests Jan and Dick Yetke set sail on Prinsendam’s 64-day Grand Mediterranean Voyage in March, and we’ll catch up as quickly as possible. Enjoy the journey with Jan and Dick!

We have been to Haifa before and it is a very interesting city. Also, the tours that go out from there are to Nazareth, Sea of Galilee, Golan Heights, and Caesarea. We have done the first three but not Caesarea. Anyway, so Dick decided we were going to bike. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose – this time we lost in the sense that he picked the wrong direction to go after coming out of the terminal and crossing the bridge over the tracks to the main road. We went to the left thru some commercial area, shops, etc., and then it got kind of ugly – lots of construction on the roads that we had to dodge in and out of; closed and empty shells of old buildings; railroad tracks we were paralleling; etc., etc. I kept saying we should turn around but he kept saying it was going to get better. Not!!! So, unfortunately our photos are not of the pretty sights in Haifa. Sorry about that!!! Some of the photos at the end are of the Old City which is just a couple blocks of the main road and we drove thru here on our return. They are revitalizing it and it is looking quite nice. The ship was docked just across the railroad tracks from here. We had to go over the bridge you see in the photos.

One of the most beautiful sights in Haifa is of the Baha’i Gardens. Haifa is the world center for Baha’i adherents. The city’s landmark gold-domed mausoleum is the resting place for founder Mirza Ali Muhamad (aka, “the Bab”) and his follower Abdul Baha’ (Abbas Effendi).

The architecture is a blend of baroque Christian and Moorish styles. The Sculpture Garden near the shrine features 22 magnificent bronze castings by artist Ursula Malbin. El-Jazzar Mosque’s huge green dome is another another Haifa olandmark. The mosque was built only 200 years ago, but the columns in its courtyard were brought from ancient Caesarea and are nearly 2000 years old. Nearby is the entrance to the underground Crusader City where the Knights Hospitaliers order was based.

Haifa might be called Israel’s “third city”. It boasts a highly diverse population of Jews, Muslims and Christians who live in relative harmony sometimes presented as a model for peaceful Jewish-Arab coexistence. Since the Jewish prophet Elijah fled the armies of King Ahab to hide in the caves of Mt Carmel, Haifa has been a home to religious minorities. In recent years, the slopes of biblical Carmel have become home to the global headquarters of the Baha’i faith; a complex replete with sculpted gardens and a gold-domed shrine commemorating their first Prophet, the Persian Sayyid Ali Muhammad (the Bab).

So, we really like Haifa and next time we come here we will go again and see the pretty parts of the city!!!!!

1 Comment
  • Rebeka

    THANK YOU…. for sharing these photos and your story ! As a Junior in college I spent 1 yr in Israel…(’78-’79)… and loved EVERY minute of it. The first 3 months were spent on Mt Carmel at the University of Haifa while we immersed ourselves in the Hebrew Language (we were all from University of California campuses). Then I was one of many who moved to Jerusalem for the remainder of the school year. Also my family came into the Haifa port years prior (when I was only 11 yrs old) in 1969 when we were living in Greece and took a ship over / back with our VW Camper in the bottom of the ship !! I love seeing these photos ! The 3 languages on the signs and the fascinating architecture of so many buildings throughout Israel….you took me back ! Hopefully I will someday actually be able to GO back myself !!

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