Wadi NisNas neighborhood
A small Arab neighborhood next to the downtown area. In the past, it used to be a Christian neighborhood but today the majority are Muslims. The meaning of NisNas in Arabic means “Mongoose” which is a native animal to the area. The neighborhood kept its character of the old Haifa with a middle eastern style of buildings and dense streets
Every year on December around Christmas, the “Holiday of the holidays” is being celebrated in the neighborhood. The holiday remarks the diversity of the city of Haifa as a multi-religious place.
The small neighborhood is the culinary gem for those of you who are looking for middle eastern food. There is a small, but a good colorful market in the narrow middle eastern streets.
Falafel HaZkenim is known as the best in Haifa if not in all of Israel, or the universe!
Unless……you think that just across the narrow street 4 meter apart Falafel Michelle is the best in the universe.
No matter what is their background, you can split the people of Haifa between those who think Michelle is the best and those who think HaZkenim is the best….
Note- both shops owned by Christians which mean they will be closed on Sunday.
around the neighborhood, there are art exhibits. some of them are located in neglected corners and places you won’t expect to find such thing. like behind the market dump yard next to the public toilet….
Stella Maris Monastery, Elija Cave, and The Cable Car
On the map.
The Carmel ridge is known in the Bible as the place where prophet Elija was confronting the Ba’al prophets. The stories inspired some monks who created The “Order of the Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel” in the 12th century during the crusader’s kingdom in the Holy Land. They built 2 monasteries on the Carmel ridge, one of them is here at Stella Maris and another monastery at the place where they believe Elija was fighting the Ba’al prophets next to Dalyat Al-Karmel.
This monastery is the Carmelites order main world center. “Stella Maris” in Latin means “star of the sea” which is one of the names of Mary, the mother of Jesus. You can read more about the monastery here. Next to the monastery, on the opposite side of the road, there is a trail going to the Capella of the lonely heart which is a place where the monks use for seclusion. The place has a beautiful view. from the Capella, there is a path going down to Elija cave and to Bat Galim neighborhood.
On the map.
If Stella Maris is on the top of the ridge, the cave of Elija is at the bottom. The place where according to the tradition prophet Elija was hiding at the time he was persecuted. The place is holy for Jews, Muslims, and Druze. Today the place serve as a synagogue. The entrance to the cave is inside a small compound which was built for the worshipers.
How To Get There?
If you are in the downtown area the shortest way is to get a bus (or walk) to the cable car station. From there you can walk to the cave of Elija which is just across the big road at the bottom of the ridge. To get to the top of the ridge and to Stella Maris you can either take a short but steep hiking path or take the cable car.
The cable car cost 35ILS for back and forth ticket or 25 ILS for one way ticket.
Museums of Haifa
Six Museums in one frame
Haifa is the city of museums. If Jerusalem if the city of historical and archeological museums which are unique to Israel, Haifa is a city of more general museums.
You can read more here.
For 60ILS you can buy a Combined Haifa Museums ticket which will give you access to 6 of the Museums for 7 days.
Even if you plan to visit just 2 Museums it worthy.
Some of my favorite Museums in Haifa:
Japanese Art Museums– In case you always wanted to visit Japan but somehow found yourself in Haifa.
National Maritime Museum – The place display 5000 years of maritime in the Mediterranean including archeological findings.
The other Museums are about the history of Haifa as a city and art museums.
The IDF Naval Museum and Clandestine Immigration
The history of the IDF Navy begins much before there was even a state. During the British mandate as the tension between the Arab and Jews raised, the British rulers restricted the number of the Jews to the land. As the situation of the Jews in Europe got worse during the 30’s, the Jews tried to breach this blockade by sailing at with ships full of Jewish refugees from Europe during the night. The people who were organizing these operations of illegal immigration were the pioneers who later established the Israeli Navy.
Clandestine Immigration part
The Museum takes you on a journey in time, focusing one one specific ship the “Af-Al-Pi-Chen”. The vessel was an old British tank carrier and was bought after WW2 by the Jewish Immigration organizations and was turned into an improvised, dense vessel for carrying refugees.
The ship survived and is presented in the museum. As you walk between the rooms and around the vessel there will be interactive videos and pics which tells the story of the ship.
This part of history is not very known outside of Israel, it is the story of the Navy but also the history of the state and to understand what was the pre-state situation here. the relations between Jews-Arabs-Brits. If you are interested in the history of the modern state of Israel this museum is a must to visit.
General info about the IDF Navy history and famous operations.
the coolest part here is that they are presenting some actual vessels here like boats and a submarine which you can enter and explore!
Next to the Museum, there is a tiny Bahai Cemetery. On the first photo overlooking the museum, you can see it beneath the boats.