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.
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 Michelleis 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.
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.