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Abstract:
From a popular travel guide series. Includes Akko [Akka] and Bahji.
Notes:
See also Frommer's Guide to the Golden Coast for more on Acre [Akka] and Bahji.

See section on Bahji and German Colony, below.

Mirrored from Electric Library.


Frommer's Guide to Israel:
Haifa

by Robert Ullian

1998
Some compare Haifa, beautifully situated on a hill overlooking a broad bay, to San Francisco or Naples. Israel's third-largest metropolitan area (population 300,000) and the capital of the north, Haifa is like a triple-decker sandwich. The industrial area that comprises Israel's most important port is the lowest tier; the business district (Hadar), higher up, is the second; and the Carmel district, with its panoramic vistas, nestled even higher on the upper pine slopes, constitutes the third. Plans are now in progress to convert the beach areas southwest of the port into Israel's own "Riviera;" you'll see a great deal of hotel construction underway along the shoreline during the next few years. The beaches are already excellent.

Haifa Today

Very different from either Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, the city is a pleasure to visit just to get a sense of its beauty and lifestyle. In a society unlike any other in the Middle East, Jews and Arabs live and work side by side; 25% of Haifa's population is either Muslim or Christian.

Like the rest of the country, Haifa is booming. Construction of new hotels (including a totally new hotel district down near the shore) is already under way. Planned development of the truly beautiful beaches just to the south of Haifa will change the nature of the city as a travel destination over the next few years.

Haifa is a good base for exploring this part of Israel. You won't need to rent a car if you base yourself here; many organized day tours originate in Haifa, or, since Haifa is a major transportation hub, you can just use public transportation to explore cities like Akko or even Safed on your own. In the evening, after a day of touring the area, Haifa offers a good choice of restaurants, films, and concerts, or just urban strolling to keep you busy.

Haifa has been the area's principal seaport since the British built its modern harbor (1929-34). Back in 1898, when he sailed past the spot that was to become modern Haifa, Theodor Herzl, the father of Zionism, saw a prophetic vision: "Huge liners rode at anchor . . . at the top of the mountain there were thousands of white homes and the mountain itself was crowned with imposing villas. . . . A beautiful city had been built close to the deep blue sea." Herzl recorded this experience in his book, Altneuland (Old New Land), and miraculously, the city developed precisely along the lines he predicted.

On April 21, 1948, Haifa became the first major city controlled by Jews after the end of the British Mandate and the U.N. Partition decision in 1947. Although Haifa's previous growth had already spurred development of residential areas such as Bat Galim, Hadar Ha-Carmel, and Neve-Shaanan, the new wave of immigration (more than 100,000) gave rise to others: Ramat Ramez, Kiryat Elizer, Neveh Yosef, and Kiryat Shprinzak. Haifa Bay, east of the port, became the backbone of the country's heavy industries, with oil refineries and associated industries, foundries, glass factories, fertilizer and chemical industries, cement works, textile manufacturing, and yards for shipbuilding and repair. Haifa is a workers' city and on political and social issues it has a liberal tradition.

1 Orientation

Arriving

Haifa's intercity bus and train transportation center is at its northernmost tip, in the district of Bat Galim, about 2 kilometers (1 1/2 miles) northwest of the downtown port area.

BY PLANE

At Ben-Gurion Airport contact tourist information inside the baggage claim area about taxi, sherut, and bus service to Haifa, approximately a 2-hour trip. Service to Haifa and the north is not as well organized as service to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

For the return to Ben-Gurion, El Al Airlines has an early baggage check-in service in Haifa, located at the Congress Center, 2 Kedoshei Yassi St., open Sunday to Thursday from noon to 11pm, Friday from 11am to 3pm, and Saturday after Shabbat to 11pm. El Al also offers a daily early morning bus transportation to Ben-Gurion Airport (available to anyone, not only to El Al's customers). The bus leaves the Egged central bus station daily at 3:30am, stopping at many hotels along the way, with its final departure from the Dan Carmel Hotel at 4:15am. It will pick you up anywhere along its route if you call in advance to request it. You can purchase tickets in advance from the El Al office, travel agents, or hotels (but not directly from the bus driver). For further information or to reserve a ticket, phone El Al's office (Phone 04/670-170). Sherut (shared taxi) service from Haifa to Ben-Gurion Airport can be arranged through Amahl Taxi (Phone 04/866-2324). Fare is NIS 44 ($12.30) one way per person. Another service to Ben-Gurion is Kavei Ha-Galil, 11 Berwarld St. (Phone 04/664-444, 04/664-445, or 04/664-446). El Al passengers have the option of using a special transport company, Tisa La Tisa (Phone 04/643-371), which will pick them up at their hotel with a shared taxi or van, and get them to Ben-Gurion Airport in time for El Al flights for NIS 36 ($10) per person.

BY TRAIN

The New Central Railway Station is in Bat Galim. In the station you'll find Olamei Hod, a cheerful air-conditioned restaurant with set-price breakfasts or lunches if you're in transit, open Sunday through Thursday from 5am to 7pm, closing early on Friday and all day Saturday. There is also the Old Railway Station in Plumer Square.

Trains to Netanya and Tel Aviv leave approximately every hour from 5:45am to 7pm, Sunday through Thursday; the last Friday train leaves at 2pm; there's no Saturday service. Less frequent service to Akko and Nahariya is available. One early morning train departs from Jerusalem on Sunday morning. Train information can be obtained by calling Phone 04/856-4321.

BY BUS

The Egged Bus Terminal, with intercity buses to and from all points in Israel, is next to the Central Railway Station in Bat Galim. From here, you'll have to take a city bus to either of my recommended hotel districts, in Hadar or Central Carmel. For Hadar, catch no. 10 or 12; for Central Carmel and the top of the mountain, you want no. 3, 22, or 24. Interurban bus information can be obtained by calling Phone 04/854-9555. Right in the Egged Bus Station is the Egged Restaurant, just right for a meal before or after a long bus journey. There's a full set-price menu for lunch, and it's open Sunday through Friday from 7am to 4pm; closed Saturday.

BY CAR

Major highway networks connect Haifa with Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and the Galilee.

BY FERRY

Your ship will dock in the port at the Maritime Passenger Terminal. It's only a short walk to the Paris Square (Kikar Paris) station of the Carmelit subway that climbs the mountain to Hadar and Central Carmel.

Visitor Information

The Haifa Tourist Board Office, 106 HaNassi Blvd. (Phone 04/837-4010), is in the Central Carmel neighborhood, just across the street from the Nof Hotel. There is also a downtown Tourist Information Office at 18 Herzl St., near the intersection with Balfour (Phone 04/866-6521 or 04/666- 522), and a small Tourist Board Office in the Central Bus Station (Phone 04/851-2208). All are open Sunday through Thursday from 8:30am to 5pm (till 9:30pm at the Bus Station), on Friday until 1pm; closed Saturday. Here you can obtain the monthly calendar "Events in Haifa and the Northern Region," plus detailed free maps, directions, and any other information you might need. The Haifa Tourism Development Association puts out a monthly poster, "Special Events in Haifa," listing many events of interest; look for it in the bus station, in hotels, in all the tourist information offices, and in other places around town.

The Israel Students Tourist Association (ISSTA) has an office in Hadar at 2 Balfour St. (Phone 04/867-0222). It's open Sunday through Thursday from 8:30am to 1pm, plus 4 to 7pm; on Friday it is open from 8:30am to 1pm.

City Layout

Of all its graces, Haifa is richest in panoramic views. For purposes of orientation, you might think of Haifa as a city built on three levels. Whether you come by ship, bus, or train, you will arrive on the first, or port, level of the city. The second level, Hadar Ha-Carmel, meaning "Glory of the Carmel," is referred to simply as Hadar. This is the business section as well as the home of the Haifa Museum, and some very pleasant restaurants and budget hotels. At the top of the hills is the Carmel District, a patchwork of verdant residential neighborhoods with its own small but busy commercial center called Central Carmel, numerous hotels and pensions, restaurants, small museums, and two of Haifa's brightest cultural beacons: Haifa Auditorium and Bet Rothschild (the James de Rothschild Cultural Center).

Because Haifa is built all the way up the side of a mountain, many of its main streets are sinuous switchbacks, curving and recurving to accommodate the steep slopes of Mount Carmel. The streets are always and forever bewildering, and you will find yourself lost repeatedly. If Haifa weren't so pleasant and beautiful, this would be a chore. About the only straight road in Haifa is the one that climbs the slopes of Carmel underground: the Carmelit.

2 Getting Around

BY CARMELIT

The Carmelit is a fast and efficient means of getting up and down Haifa's various levels. Its terminal station is located on Jaffa Road, a few blocks north of the port entrance and not far from the old (Merkaz) railway station.

Pulled on a long cable up and down the steep hill, the Carmelit resembles a sort of scale-model M³tro, with only 1,800 yards of tunnel. It's picturesque, yes -- and it also happens to be the fastest way to get from the port to Hadar and Carmel. There are six stops in all. Starting from the bottom of the mountain and going up to the top, they are: (1) Paris Square (Kikar Paris, lower terminus, port area); (2) Solel Boneh (Hassan Shukri Street); (3) Ha-Nevi'im (Hadar business district, tourist office); (4) Masada (Masada Street); (5) Eliezer Golomb (Eliezer Golomb Street); (6) Gan Ha-Em (Central Carmel business district, upper terminus).

Trains run every 10 minutes. The Carmelit operates Sunday through Thursday from 6:30am to midnight, Friday from 6:30am to 3pm, and resumes service on Saturday from one-half hour after the end of Shabbat until midnight; it is closed during Sabbath. Ticket machines have English as well as Hebrew instructions. The fare is NIS 3.40 ($1.10).

BY BUS

Bus fares are charged according to destination, so you must tell the driver where you're going. Most fares to places inside Haifa itself are NIS 3.40 ($1.10). Haifa's municipal buses operate from 5am to 11:30pm Sunday through Thursday; on Friday, bus service halts around 4:30pm; there is limited Saturday service from 9am to midnight. For information on buses inside Haifa, call Phone 04/854-9131; for interurban lines, call Phone 04/854-9555.

Fast Facts: Haifa

American Express (Phone 08/867-1313)

Crime       See "Safety" below.

Currency Exchange       Banking hours are Sunday through Friday from 8:30am to 2:30pm. Afternoon hours are Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 4 to 6pm.

Doctors
      Call the Rambam Hospital in Bat Galim (Phone 04/854-3111).

Drugstores
      Standard hours are Sunday through Thursday from 8am to 1pm and 4 to 7pm; Friday from 8am to 2pm. According to a rotating schedule, one or two pharmacies remain on duty nights and on Shabbat; their names will be posted in any pharmacy window.

Embassies/Consulates
      The U.S. consulate is at 12 Yerushalayim St. in Hadar (Phone 04/867-0615; fax 04/867-5757). Consular services are by appointment only.

Emergencies
      Dial 101 for Magen David Adom first aid services; 04/851- 2233 for an ambulance.

Hospitals
      The Rambam Hospital in Bat Galim (Phone 04/854-3111), and Carmel Hospital, 7 Michal St. (Phone 04/825-0211), will accommodate visitors.

Hotlines
      The Rape Crisis Center telephone is 04/866-0111, daily 24 hours. Emotional First Aid (Phone 04/867-2222) is open 24 hours daily.

Laundry/Dry Cleaning
      Laundromats in Haifa are not easily accessible from tourist areas; ask at your hotel.

Libraries
      The main library is at 50 Pevsner St. (Phone 04/866-7766). Hours are Sunday through Thursday from 9am to 7pm, Friday 9am to 1pm.

Newspapers/Magazines
      The Jerusalem Post, Jerusalem Report Magazine, and Eretz (a magazine of history, nature, and travel) are readily available.

Police
      See "Emergencies" above.

Post Office
      Haifa's most accessible post office with the longest hours is in Hadar, at the corner of Shabtai Levi and Ha-Nevi'im streets (Phone 04/864-0917). It is open Sunday through Thursday from 8am to 7pm; Friday 8am to 1:30pm; closed Saturday.

Radio
      English broadcasts are on Israeli radio 576 kHz and 1458 kHz at 7am, 1, 5, and 8pm.

Religious Services
      "Events in Haifa," available at Municipal Tourist Information Offices, lists all major church, mosque, and synagogue services.

Resources
      The Israel Student Travel Association (ISSTA), 2 Balfour St., Hadar, can be reached at Phone 04/867-0222 or 04/866- 9139: discounts on plane and ferry tickets. Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel (AACI), 8 Wedgewood Drive, Haifa, can be reached at Phone 04/838-7140 or 04/838-4319: help for absorption of North American immigrants, social and cultural programs, tours, lectures, and activities.

Safety
      Haifa is generally a low-crime city. Extra care should be exercised near the port after dark.

Taxis
      For special taxis to destinations outside Haifa (including Ben-Gurion Airport), call Kavei Ha-Galil, Phone 04/866-4444 or 04/866-4445.

Telegrams/Telex/Fax
      Dial 171 for telegrams. You can send telegrams at the post office (see "Post Office" above). Ask at your hotel for fax services.

Television
      Two Israeli channels carry many English-language programs. Channel 2 is the more highbrow; Middle East television from Lebanon specializes in American reruns.

3 Accommodations

The lower and middle areas of town, the port and Hadar, have a few very reasonable hotels and pensions that put you right at the center of the business district.

Central Carmel is quieter and has trees, gardens, and views, and with the Carmelit, you're only minutes away from the other parts of the city. On top of Mount Carmel, when you climb the stairs out of the Gan Ha-Em Carmelit station, you'll come above ground on busy Ha-Nassi Boulevard. Walk southwest (up the slope) and in short order you'll arrive at the main intersection of Central Carmel, Ha-Nassi, and Sea Road (Derekh Ha-Yam). If you arrive in Central Carmel by city bus no. 22, look for this same intersection to use as a reference point.

For bed-and-breakfast accommodations, contact the Haifa Tourist Board (Phone 04/837-4010; fax 04/837-2953). They will arrange for a variety of accommodations: doubles in an apartment cost $40 without private bath, $55 with private bath; and $60 for doubles with private bath and separate entrance. Their reservations service is open Sunday to Thursday from 9am to 3pm. Expect to pay host families in cash; breakfast is usually $5 extra per person.

Hadar

Moderate

Haifa Tower Hotel. 63 Herzl St., Haifa. Phone 04/867-7111. Fax 04/862-1863. 96 rms (all with bath or shower). A/C TV TEL. $95-$120 double. Rates include breakfast. AE, DC, MC, V. Carmelit: Ha-Nevi'im.

Located in a new 17-story office building in the downtown Hadar section of Haifa, this upper-middle-ranking choice has well-decorated and -designed rooms (all with views of the harbor or the city, though not as spectacular as those from the higher Carmel neighborhood) and very pleasant public areas. Business class guest rooms, with better furnishings and equipment, are $11 extra.

Central Carmel

Expensive

Dan Carmel Hotel. 85-87 Ha-Nassi Blvd., Haifa 34642. Phone 04/830-6306. Fax 04/ 838-7504. 219 rms (all with bath). A/C TV TEL. $184-$300 double. 15% service charge. Rates include breakfast. AE, DC, MC, V. Carmelit: Gan Ha-Em.

For 40 years, the Dan Carmel has reigned as Haifa's most luxurious hotel. The building itself is a perfectly maintained example of 1950s modernistic architecture and decor -- a style just now reaching the age to be appreciated for nostalgic as well as aesthetic value. There are spacious public areas, overlooking beautiful gardens, a large country club outdoor swimming pool, and a top-flight staff, all of which add up to a relaxing, pleasant experience. Deluxe rooms and suites, recently renovated, are beautifully furnished and decorated, with wall panels of Chinese or classic French textile designs that add a rich, intelligent touch. Superior (standard) rooms have not yet been updated, and show their age. Deluxe and Superior rooms are divided in price between rooms with interesting views and rooms with spectacular views. The in-house Rondo Restaurant, perhaps the most elegant kosher choice in Haifa, is open Saturday through Thursday evenings; a prix fixe meal here is a worthwhile (kosher) splurge for a special occasion at $40 (Dan Carmel guests are exempt from the value-added tax (VAT) if the tab is charged to their room).

Dining: Two restaurants, lobby lounge, pub, poolside snack bar.

Services/Facilities: Executive business center, 24-hour room service, hairdresser. Swimming pool, sauna, health club, parking (fee).

Dan Panorama. 107 Ha-Nassi Blvd., Haifa 34632. Phone 04/835- 2222. Fax 04/835-2235. 267 rms (all with bath). A/C TV TEL. $150-$230 double. Rates include breakfast. 15% service charge. AE, DC, MC, V. Carmelite: Gan Ha-Em.

This hotel, set in a high-rise built in 1986, is less expensive and usually has a busier pace than its sister hotel, the Dan Carmel, down the street. It's part of the up-market Panorama shopping mall complex, which houses a choice of clothing shops, small restaurants, and snack bars just steps away from the hotel's polished stone lobby. The pool has been fitted onto the roof of one of the building's lower wings, and catches breezes on hot days. Rooms are compact, of efficient, modern design (even lower-category rooms have hair dryers), and classified in price according to their views (windows in many rooms are not really big enough to take in the views). The location, a short block from the Carmelit stop and the Carmel shopping district, is excellent. There are lots of pleasant Dan Hotel Chain touches, like the wonderful breads at the breakfast buffet.

Dining/Entertainment: Three restaurants, piano bar lounge, Viennese cafe.

Services/Facilities: Business service bureau, 24-hour room service. Outdoor pool, children's pool, fitness amenities, parking (fee).

Moderate

Hotel Dvir. 124 Yefe Nof St., Haifa 34454. Phone 04/838- 9131. Fax 04/838-1068. 30 rms (all with bath or shower). A/C TV TEL. $108 double. Rates include breakfast. AE, DC, MC, V. Bus: 21, 28, or 37. Carmelit: Gan Ha-Em.

The 10 front rooms have an incredibly beautiful view of the city, the harbor, and across Haifa Bay to Acre and the mountains beyond. Each of these rooms has an entire wall made of glass as well as a balcony; get one of these if you can; back rooms are cramped and confining. But as significant as the view is the service. The Dvir is run as a hotel training school for the Dan Hotel Chain, and the young people who serve you here are out to get good marks both from you and from their supervisors. Other amenities include clock radios, heat, and wall-to-wall carpeting and use of the nearby Dan Panorama Hotel swimming pool. The long flight of stairs from the street to the Dvir's front door is a minus for many visitors (call ahead if you need assistance).

From Carmelit station, cross Ha-Nassi Boulevard, and look for Shar Ha-Levanon Street; walk one block and turn right on Panorama (Yefe Nof) Road.

Mount Carmel Hotel. 103 Derech HaYam, Haifa. Phone 04/838- 1413. Fax 04/838-1763. 100 rms all with bath. A/C TV TEL. $75 single; $120 double. AE, DC, MC, V. Bus 3 from the Carmel Center.

A short bus ride or a pleasant 20-minute downhill walk from the Carmel Center through one of Haifa's nicest residential areas, the Mount Carmel is a new hotel converted from a sprawling four-story retreat surrounded by pleasant gardens; in 1997, a swimming pool and health club were added. Rooms are freshly done and comfortable; ask for one of the new rooms added in 1997. You're not in the center of things here, and the uphill walk to the Carmel Center is wearying, but this is a moderate, relaxing alternative to the more expensive hotels in the Carmel Center. Free parking is a plus.

Nof Hotel. 101 Ha-Nassi Blvd., Haifa 31063. Phone 04/835- 4311. Fax 04/838-8810. 93 rms (all with bath). A/C TV TEL. $125-$160 double. Lower prices Dec-Feb; higher prices July 15-Aug 31 and Jewish holidays. AE, DC, MC, V.

A stay at the Nof Hotel is always an enjoyable experience and extremely good value. Nof means "view," and at the Nof Hotel every room offers a magnificent panoramic view. Guest rooms have especially large windows to take in their dramatic vistas; room refurbishing and a new wing are planned, but at present, decor in some rooms is starting to wear thin. The hotel dining room is good, and the in-house kosher Chinese restaurant (see "Where to Dine," below) is excellent. A drawback in summer is the lack of a swimming pool, but guests have free entrance to a local community pool and there are special hotel shuttles down to the beach in summer. Check about when planned construction is scheduled before reserving.

The Nof's management has a real commitment to Haifa (it has cosponsored some of the Haifa Museum's exceptional exhibitions) and the staff will help make your stay comfortable and interesting. Berte, the Nof's very efficient assistant general manager, offers Frommer's readers who book independently a 15% reduction if they stay 3 or more nights.

Inexpensive

Hotel Beth Shalom Carmel. 110 Ha-Nassi Blvd. (P.O. Box 6208), Haifa 31060. Phone 04/ 837-7481 or 04/837-7482. Fax 04/837-2443. 30 rms (all with bath). A/C TEL. $44 single; $66 double. Rates include breakfast. AE, DC, MC, V. Carmelit: Gan Ha-Em.

This is a modern, efficient German Protestant guest house equivalent to a three-star hotel, open to all comers, with clean and airy rooms equipped with heating. Minimum stay is 3 nights. The location, just across the street from many luxury hotels and a few doors from the Municipal Tourist Office, is great; extra amenities include use of a small garden and a library.

Near the Port

St. Charles German Hospice. 105 Jaffa Rd., Haifa. Phone 04/855-3705. Fax 04/851-4919. $27 single; $48 double with breakfast. No credit cards.

On one of the port area's major thoroughfares, this hospice is, surprisingly, a quiet place, set back from the street in a large, stone-walled 120-year-old complex of gardens and stone buildings. The hospice is run by the Sisters of the Rosary, but it's open to all travelers. Rooms are simple, two or three beds to a room, with high ceilings, spare and practical furnishings, and running water in a sink in each room, with ample toilet, bath, and shower facilities down the hall, and a nice sitting room, too. You're welcome to use the kitchen to prepare meals, and to relax in the large garden. There is a 10pm curfew and 9am checkout.

On Carmel Beach

This beautiful beachfront area just being developed at the edge of the city is served by buses during the day, but can seem somewhat isolated from the rest of Haifa at night. The area offers a beach resort atmosphere, but is also close to the high-tech Matam Industrial Park, at the heart of Israel's own Silicon Valley. It is also convenient to Haifa's new International Convention Center. Parking here is not yet a problem.

Expensive

Carmel Beach Hotel and Suites. 10 David Elazar St., Carmel Beach, Haifa. Phone 04/ 850-8888. Fax 04/850-0222. E-mail carmelbh@netvision.net.il. 287 rms and suites all with bath. A/C TV TEL. $220 single; $240 double. Rates include breakfast. AE, DC, MC, V.

This lavish new high-rise hotel completed in 1997, part of an entire complex to be built at one of Haifa's best bathing beaches, offers superior (standard) guest rooms as well as one-bedroom, one-bath suites and a variety of two-bedroom, two-bath suites, all with well-planned kitchenette facilities, private safes, and voice mail. Everything is new, sleekly designed, and laptop-friendly. The variety of accommodations makes this a good choice for vacationing families as well as long term business travelers visiting or working at the nearby Matam Industrial Park; kitchenettes compensate for the fact that the site is not near shops and restaurants. There are long term discount plans available; ask about manger Neil Kaye's special: stay five nights, pay for only four.

Dining/Entertainment: Three restaurants, piano bar, beach snack bar.

Services/Facilities: Business and secretarial center, 24-hour room service. Swimming pool, children's pool, beach, tennis court, shops, soccer on the beach. Health club for extra fee. Free parking.

In the Hills South of Haifa

Isrotel Carmel Forest Spa Resort. Carmel Forest, P.O. Box 90000 Haifa 31900. Phone 888/ISROTEL or 201/816-0830 in the U.S. and Canada; 0181/997-6423 in the U.K.; or 04/832-3111. Fax 04/832-3988. E-mail carmel.forest.res@isrotel.co.il. 126 rms with baths. A/C TV TEL. $250-$450 single; $320-$490 double, full board included. Treatment programs extra. AE, DC, MC V.

Opened in 1997, this is a luxury spa that offers a green, tranquil alternative to the spa hotels at the Dead Sea. Rooms are freshly decorated, overlooking the distant Mediterranean or the acres of woods surrounding the hotel; they have electric kettles and personal safes for extra convenience. The spa includes indoor and outdoor pools, a gym, Jacuzzi, dry and steam saunas, and a real Turkish steam bath as well as a full array of weight loss, cosmetic, exercise, massage, meditation, and outdoor nature programs. You can arrange for everything from aromatherapy, seaweed wrap, water aerobics, horseback riding, Tai Chi, and mountain biking to Shiatsu, Reiki, reflexology, and Thai or Swedish massage. Meals are well prepared, filled with natural, wholesome ingredients.

4 Dining

Haifa can cater to every culinary taste and pocketbook. Restaurants escalate in price and geographic level from the falafel stands adjacent to the port area to the Dan Carmel Grill Room overlooking the Mediterranean.

Hadar/Nordau Street Mall

After observing the success of Jerusalem's lively Ben-Yehuda Street Pedestrian Mall, Haifa decided to take the plunge and turn Nordau Street, one block above Herzl Street, into a tree-lined pedestrian area. The result has brightened the whole Hadar District, and has brought some really wonderful restaurant choices to the center of town.

Expensive

Voila. 21A Nordau St. Phone 04/866-4529. Reservations recommended. Main courses NIS 36-70 ($10-$19.60); fixed-price lunches NIS 58-65 ($l6.20-$18.20). AE, DC, MC. Daily noon-midnight. SWISS/FRENCH.

A charming hideaway in the Nordau Street Mall, Voila is a labor of love on the part of its owners, who have provided a secluded, intimate atmosphere with specially designed rustic French Alpine touches, both indoors and in the garden. The style of the kitchen is rich, but this is a place where its worth setting aside a diet. Choice appetizers include mussels in a butter, garlic, parsley and white wine sauce and mushrooms in herb butter stuffed with pät³ de foie gras, white cheese, or stuffed shrimp. You can order a seafood fondue served with four cheeses and a basket of sliced baguette plus a salad (150 grams of shrimp, mussels, and other seafood for $35; a considerably larger portion, which two can share, is $40); a dazzling house-specialty meat fondue for two ($30) served with five sauces on a sizzling stone; or roasted mullard (hybrid of duck and goose) breast in apple cider and date sauce. Less expensive are dishes served with spaetzli (Swiss flour and egg dumplings). A pan of Swiss rosti, a Voila specialty, or a salad, is served with each main course. Consider dividing a lavish, original dessert.

Inexpensive

Kapulsky's. 6 Nordau St. Phone 04/864-5633. Desserts NIS 14- 26 ($3-$7.50); light meals NIS 20-39 ($5.60-$11). MC, V. Sun- Fri 9am-11pm, Sat 1pm-midnight. CAFE.

Long a Haifa landmark for lavish pastries and beautiful light meals, Kapulsky's has a busy indoor cafe and outdoor tables that are great for leisurely people watching. In addition to its famous European-style pies and tortes, Kapulsky's serves salads, souffl³s, and lasagna and other light to major meals. Another branch of Kapulsky's is at the Panorama Center in Central Carmel.

Central Carmel

Expensive

Villa Rose. 8 Machanaim St. Phone 04/838-2212. Reservations required. Main courses NIS 55-100 ($15.50-$28.); business lunch starting at NIS 40 ($11.20). AE, DC, MC, V. Sun-Fri noon-3:30pm and 7-11pm; Sat noon-3:30pm. Carmelit: Gan Ha-Em. FRENCH.

One of the few remaining villas that once dotted the crest of the Carmel Range is the setting for this new restaurant, the most luxurious in Haifa. The restaurant is divided into a series of chandelier-lit rooms, with formal window draperies and 19th-century paintings in gilded frames; beside each table is a stand for chilled wine. The decor and formal service match the menu, which is classic French with just a touch of playful invention. The wine list ranges from imported to Israeli choices, including a fine Yarden champagne. Classic profiteroles filled with ice cream and hot chocolate and house cr°pes Suzette head a rich dessert menu. Luncheon specials are an excellent value.

Moderate

New York, New York. 122 Ha-Nassi Blvd. Phone 04/836-1501. Hamburgers and light meals NIS 28-40 ($7.80-$11.20); main courses NIS 40-60 ($11.20-$16.80). AE, DC, MC, V. Daily noon-midnight. AMERICAN.

Step inside this convenient place located just beside the Carmel Carmelit stop, and you'll think you're in a suburban diner in the United States. Steaks and burgers, all weighing in at 300 grams (about 2/3 pound) are the big draws here, but you'll also find chicken and fish dishes served with your choice of potato and salad. More expensive than its American counterparts, this is a place to visit if you've got a yen for home. There's a fresh, but unimaginative one-time salad bar costing $8 or $6.50 if you order it with a main course.

Nof Chinese Restaurant. 101 Ha-Nassi Blvd. Phone 04/835- 4311. Reservations recommended. Main courses NIS 45-65 ($12.60-$18.20); business lunch NIS 55 ($15.40). AE, DC, MC, V. Sun-Thurs noon-3pm and 7pm-midnight; Sat after Shabbat. Closed Fri-Sat until after Shabbat. CHINESE.

A comfortable and well-known kosher Chinese restaurant, the Nof Chinese specializes in hot-pot creations and a variety of regional styles of preparation. The view in the daytime is dramatic.

Sea Waves Chinese Restaurant. 99 Yefe Nof St. Phone 04/837- 5602. Reservations recommended evenings and weekends. Main courses NIS 40-80 ($11.20-$22.40); complete luncheon special NIS 45-65 ($12.60-$18.20). AE, DC, MC, V. Daily noon-3:30pm and 7-11:30pm. CHINESE.

With its fabulous views, Sea Waves offers a sophisticated well-prepared menu with specialties that include skewered meats served on sizzling iron plates and hot-pot dishes. It also has a large menu of more standard Chinese dishes at quite reasonable prices. Reserve a window table right up against the view; especially during daylight hours, it makes dining here memorable. Peking Duck (order in advance) is $25 per person; there're good spare ribs and a very nice crispy duck with honey that you can order on the spot.

White Gallery. 125 Ha Nassi Blvd. Phone 04/837-5574. Appetizers and main courses NIS 30-60 ($8.40-$16.80). AE, DC, MC, V. Sun-Thurs 9:30am-1am; Fri 8am-3am; Sat 10:30am- 3am. CONTINENTAL.

A stylish restaurant, both in terms of cuisine and design, this place, with sleek minimalist decor and a sidewalk terrace for people watching, is both popular and affordable. Haifans come by for breakfast, which can be a simple coffee, a full Israeli-style meal, or a soft sesame roll (known locally as a bagel) with cream cheese and lox. For lunch and dinner, choose from inventive salads (that are meals in themselves) such as goose breast with fresh vegetables and mozzarella; the Far East salad, with chopped lettuce, chicken breast, rice noodles, and fresh vegetables in a sweet-and-sour coriander sauce; or the Hot Gallery Salad of lightly saut³ed vegetables in a tasty vinaigrette. Pasta dishes are also a good choice, and include a rich lasagna filled with mushrooms, spinach, garlic, and onions. Fajitas, a variety of excellent chicken dishes, quality steaks, and a good wine list and cheese platters round out the upmarket end of the menu.

Inexpensive

The Bank. 119 Ha-Nassi Blvd. Phone 04/838-9623. Light meals NIS 15-36 ($4.20-$10). MC, V. Daily 10am-11pm or midnight. Carmelit: Gan Ha-Em. CAFE.

This is a bright, stylish place, with summery furnishings, where you can enjoy sitting at the sidewalk tables and watching the activity around Central Carmel. The Bank is great for light meals -- pancakes, blintzes, sandwiches, salads, crepes, cakes, and cappuccino, or many kinds of ice cream confections. The hefty Bank salad is especially recommended.

Chin Lung Chinese Restaurant. 126 Ha-Nassi Blvd. Phone 04/838-1308. Main courses NIS 30-65 ($8.40-$18.20); business lunch NIS 40 ($11.20). MC, V. Daily noon-3pm and 6:30pm- midnight Carmelit: Gan Ha-Em. CHINESE.

At first there seems to be no restaurant at all behind the sign and posted menu near the corner of Sea Road (Derekh Ha-Yam). But go down the adjoining steps and you'll discover a cellar dining room with a small-town American-style folksy Chinese decor in gold and crimson, with gold tablecloths and fresh flowers. The food is mostly Szechuan style, which can be spicy but needn't be if you don't like hot food. There are 50 items to choose from here; shrimp and calamari dishes are at the high end of the price range. Beer, wine, and cocktails are served.

Ristorante Italiano. 119 Ha-Nassi Blvd. Phone 04/838-1336. Main courses NIS 28-50 ($7.80-$14). AE, MC, V. Sat-Thurs 5:30-11pm; closed Fri. EUROPEAN/ITALIAN.

A real favorite with Americans, this is a small, family-run restaurant where you can have a filling meal of spaghetti, cannelloni, or a truly hefty pizza with fresh toppings for less than $9. Breads and focaccia are served straight out the oven with heaping salads and wonderful main courses such as goulash just like Grandmother used to make, steaks, American home-style hamburgers, trout, and Saint Peter's fish. A rich bowl of vegetable soup and garlic bread makes a fine inexpensive lunch. The management here is very friendly and takes good care of returning customers.

Near the Port

Abu Yusuf. 1 Ha-Meginim St. Phone 04/866-3723. Middle Eastern salad bar NIS 10 ($2.50) for one plate; main courses NIS 25-44 ($7-$128). MC, V. Sat-Thurs 9am-midnight; Fri 7am- 4pm. Carmelit: Paris Square. ARABIC.

The sign is in Hebrew, English, and Arabic, and this restaurant has been loved by speakers of all three languages for decades. Newly redecorated but still basically no frills, Abu Yusuf's food tends toward the Lebanese, with kubbeh, hummus with meat, grilled heart (delicious!), and roast chicken. One trip to the wonderful salad bar of 20 Middle Eastern dishes comes with a main course, or you can order the salad bar alone and have a fine meal with fresh pita bread and a shot ("jot") of anise-flavored arak brandy, and two people will pay about $7 each. A meal with a large main course would be $10 to $15. Abu Yusuf offers fresh fish and grilled lamb dishes and has won awards several years in a row. Very good value.

In the Market

Jacko's. 12 HaDekekim St. Phone04/866-8813. Reservations not taken. Main courses: NIS 50-60 ($14-$16.80). No credit cards. Sun-Thurs noon-11pm; Fri noon-5pm; Sat noon-6pm. FISH.

At this little no-frills place in the market, you'll find the freshest, most delicious fish in town. It's run by Jacko, a retired fisherman, and his entire family. As Jacko originally came from Izmir on the coast of Turkey, you'll also find a Sephardic-Aegean touch in first courses like the Turkish-style "paella" or in the mezze of little salads that comes with your main course. The sesame shrimp and the shrimp saut³ed in wine and garlic are fresh and tasty. Always ask the waiter what's special and what the catch of the day is. From the Carmelit stop at Kikar Paris, walk two blocks down S. Nathanson St. and turn right into the market. From there, anyone will point out the place for you -- it's a Haifa institution!

German Colony

This neighborhood, filled with stone cottages built by German Christians in the late 19th century, has great potential for charm and is undergoing gentrification. The Haifa Municipality is helping things along with the construction of a new pedestrian promenade on the neighborhood's main street, Ben-Gurion Boulevard, which is perfectly aligned with the dramatic Bahai Shrine further up the slopes of Mount Carmel.

Expensive

1873 Restaurant. 102 Jaffa St. Phone 04/853-2211. Reservations necessary. Main courses: NIS 40-85 ($11.20- $23.80). AE, MC, V. Sun-Thurs noon-3pm; and 7:30-11pm; Fri 7:30-11pm; Sat 1-4pm and 7:30-11pm. FRENCH.

Occupying a restored German Colony cottage built in 1873, this restaurant offers the most superb new kitchen to debut in Israel in several years. Each dish is gracefully inventive and presented with visual elegance; sauces are fabulous. Among appetizers, look for giant mushrooms stuffed with a forcemeat of goose breast in a smooth cream sauce; giant New Zealand mussels in wine sauce accented by chopped chives, or exquisite foie gras wrapped in thin slices of smoked goose breast in a sauce of prune, apple, and wine or with a slightly tart reduction of blueberries in plum sauce (available also as a main course). Main courses, which constantly change, may include grilled trout in an orange sauce based on Grand Marnier; scaloppini of ostrich under fruit glaze, or large, meaty quail stuffed with liver served on a bed of lightly saut³ed vegetables in red wine sauce. Vegetables are fascinating here, desserts perfect. Decor is charming without being glitzy or pretentious. Ask about special fixed-price dinners (true bargains) when you phone for your reservation.

Bat Galim

Bat Galim means "Daughter of the Waves" in Hebrew, and you'll know how it got its name when you stroll along its beachfront promenade. If you take a ride on the aerial cable car between the beach and Mount Carmel, at the lower terminal you'll be right at the end of Bat Galim. The restaurants I'll mention are all within about a 5-minute walk from there.

If you're not coming from the cable-car terminal, you can easily walk over from the main bus or train stations -- Bat Galim is located behind the stations. From the Central Station, go through the underground tunnel that connects to the train station; when you come out of the train station, you'll be in Bat Galim. You can also take bus no. 40, 41, 42, or 44 from the bus station to the cable-car terminal. If you're driving, come across at Hel Ha-Yam, the main boulevard running just east of the bus station.

Moderate

Dolphin. 13 Bat Galim Ave. Phone 04/852-3837. Reservations recommended evenings. Main courses NIS 45-75 ($12.60-$21). AE, DC, MC, V. Daily noon-4pm and 7pm-midnight. Bus: No. 40, 41, or 42. SEAFOOD.

è la carte prices are higher than in other neighborhood choices, but the reputation of the restaurant is very good. A typical dinner might include the excellent house fish soup, tomato-based and richly herbed; shrimp cocktail or fried calamari; followed by a main course of fresh fish. It's one block inland from Bat Galim Promenade.

Inexpensive

Yotvata. End of Bat Galim Promenade. Phone 04/852-6835. Light meals NIS 17-27 ($4.75-$7.50); main courses NIS 25-60 ($7-$16.80). AE, DC, MC, V. Daily 7am-4am. DAIRY/VEGETARIAN.

Right on the beach, at the lower terminus of Haifa's famous aerial cable car, this is an extremely popular emporium for dairy and vegetarian food. Everything is made from the best-quality produce bought directly from kibbutzim and from the famous dairy kibbutz at Yotvata. For under $10 there are salads, cheese platters served with fresh herbs and vegetables, blintzes, pancakes, vegetable pies, pastas, and pizzas. At the upper end of the price range, you'll find a selection of fish, chicken, pasta, and hamburgers as well as bagels and lox. The mixtures of natural fruit juices are famous, as are Yotvata's many ice-cream parlor desserts.

Cafes & Pastry

On the loft balcony above the dairy self-service Cafe Carmel in the vast Panorama Center is the Viennese Gallery (Phone 04/835-2222). The view is incredible from up here, and the distinctive architecture does everything to maximize it, with a curved, two-story window wall. The cafe serves mostly desserts and coffees; but there is also a selection of quiches, salads, omelettes, soups, and cold platters, as well Saint Peter's fish or "Dakar" fish (served with white wine and caviar for $16). Although the surroundings are fancy, prices really are quite reasonable. You can get a gorgeous Viennese pastry with a whole pot of freshly brewed tea or coffee for $6, or for $5, the "Viennese Fantasy," a combination of as many flavors of ice cream and as many toppings as you like -- you select the combinations. You'll find it open from 10am to 11pm daily (until midnight Friday and Saturday nights). If you're not a guest at the Panorama Hotel and unable to put the tab on your VAT-free bill, you will pay an extra 17% above the dollar prices.

In the downtown area, Exodus Conditoria, 31 Ha-Atzma'ut Rd., is just the place for a light breakfast, afternoon tea, or dessert after lunch. The glass cases are crammed with delicious croissants, chocolate cakes, pastries, strudels, cream cakes, and the like. Coffee and tea are served, prices are fatteningly low (that is, you're tempted to go for another serving), and hours are 8am to 7pm, except Friday when they close at 2pm, and Saturday when they're closed all day. Coffee and pastry won't cost more than $3. The Exodus is down the street from the American Consular Agency, on Ha-Atzma'ut near the intersection with Eliyahu Ha-Navi Street (that's the vegetable-and-fruit market street).

Another good bakery in this area is Hershko Melekh, which, although the address is 21 Asfor St. (no phone), can be found by walking down Ha-Meginim Street until you're directly across from the Italian church; by this time you will smell the bread baking, and you can just follow your nose to find it (the sign outside is in Hebrew only). This is not so much a sweets shop as it is a bakery for bagels, rolls, pretzels with onions and spices, or pizza. Prices here are good, and you stand an excellent chance of walking in to find something coming piping hot out of the oven -- couldn't be any fresher than that. Another plus is that, no matter when you come, you're sure to find it open -- it's baking away 24 hours a day. This, too, is a popular place with locals in the know.

Pinat Hatzaut (no phone), on the corner of Ha-Nevi'im and Hehalutz streets, specializes in those Turkish pastries dripping with honey and nuts, and whatever variety is your special favorite, you'll probably find it here, with extra-large sizes of all kinds priced at only NIS 2 (60¢). There are also doughnuts, bagels, huge pretzels, and other treats. Open Sunday through Thursday from 4am to midnight, closing Friday afternoon and all day Saturday.

Over on Herzl Street, near the corner of Shemaryahu Levin Street, look for Contidory Ha'uga, 14 Herzl St. (Phone 04/862-5288), a bakery doing a lively business in every kind of baked goods, from simple rolls, bread, doughnuts, and cookies, up to the most artistic refrigerated confections of chocolate and whipped cream. You can get a cup of cappuccino here too, and enjoy it with a sweet, but you'll have to stand up along the coffee counter -- the place is so busy, they've taken out the chairs to make room for all the customers. Hours are Sunday through Thursday from 8am to 8pm, on Friday until 3pm; closed Saturday.

5 Attractions

Before setting out, check with the Haifa Municipal Information Office's "What's on in Haifa," which tells you what's happening during the month that you're in town.

The Top Attractions

In Hadar

Bahá'í Shrine & Gardens. Free admission. Modest dress required. Shrine daily 9am-noon; gardens daily 9am-5pm. Bus: 22 from the port, 23, 25, and 26 from Hadar.

Haifa's most impressive sightseeing attraction is the splendid Bahá'í Shrine and Gardens, reached from Zionism (Ha-Zionut) Avenue. The immaculate, majestic Bahá'í gardens -- with their stone peacocks and eagles, and delicately manicured cypress trees -- are a restful, esthetic memorial to the founders of the Bahá'í faith.

Haifa is the international headquarters for the Bahá'í faith, which began in Persia in the mid-19th century in a bloodbath of persecution. Bahá'ís believe in the unity of all religions and see all religious leaders -- Christ, Buddha, Muhammad, Moses -- as messengers of God, sent at different times in history with doctrines varying to fit changing social needs, but bringing substantially the same message. The most recent of these heavenly teachers, according to Bahá'ís, was Bahaullah. He was exiled by the Turkish authorities to Acre, wrote his doctrines there, and died a peaceful death in Bahji House just north of Acre.

In the Haifa gardens, the huge domed shrine entombs the remains of the Bahaullah's herald, the Bab. The tomb is a sight to see, with ornamental gold work and flowers in almost every nook and cranny. The Bab's remains, incidentally, were hidden for years after he died a martyr's death in front of a firing squad. Eventually, however, his followers secretly carried his remains to the Holy Land. At the entrance to the shrine, where you must remove your shoes, you will be given a pamphlet providing further details on Bahá'í history and doctrine.

On a higher hilltop stands the Corinthian-style Bahá'í International Archives building, modeled after the Parthenon, and the Universal House of Justice, with 58 marble columns and hanging gardens behind. These are business buildings, not open to visitors. They and the shrine of the tomb of the Bab all face toward Acre, the burial place of Bahaullah.

The beautiful grounds were planned by Shoghi Effendi, the late Guardian of the Faith. In addition to curious visitors, you'll see pilgrims who have come from all parts of the world to pay homage to the first leaders of this universal faith.

Note: The Bahá'í gardens are currently undergoing a massive redesign that will make them into one of the horticultural wonders of the world. You may be able to see part of the hanging-garden concept of the design as it is completed, but much will be under construction during the time span of this edition.

Haifa Museum -- Modern Art Museum. 26 Shabtai Levi St. Phone 04/852-3255. Admission good for all 3 branches of Haifa Museum NIS 16 ($4.50), NIS 12 ($3.40) students. Sun-Fri 10am- 1pm; also Tues-Thurs 5-8pm; Sat 10am-3pm. Bus: 12, 22, or 41. Carmelit: Ha-Nevi'im station in Hadar.

The Haifa Museum is composed of three branches. This is the downtown branch, containing the Museum of Modern Art, a collection of paintings, sculpture, and prints by Israeli and foreign artists, with a strong emphasis on Israeli art. The library and slide collection is open to the public; lectures, art films, and slide presentations are held in the evenings.

Haifa Museum -- Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art. 89 Ha-Nassi Blvd. Phone 04/838-3554. Admission good for all 3 Haifa Museums NIS 16 ($4.50), Bus: 22 or 23. Carmelit: Gan Ha-Em station.

The Tikotin has examples of almost all kinds of Japanese art and crafts, along with a library of approximately 3,000 books. The beautiful building hosts 10 to 12 special exhibits of Japanese art and crafts, arranged to reflect the changing seasons. It's located just north of the commercial district in Central Carmel.

Haifa Museum -- National Maritime Museum. 198 Allenby Rd. Phone 04/536-622. Admission good for all 3 Haifa museums NIS 16 ($4.50). Sun-Thurs 10am-4pm; Sat and holidays 10am-1pm. Bus: 3, 5, 43, 44, or 45.

This third section of the Haifa Museum just up the street from the Af-Al-Pi vessel, near Bat Galim, encompasses 5,000 years of seafaring in the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. The Museum of Ancient Art, recently relocated here from the central Haifa Museum Complex, displays archeological collections of Mediterranean cultures from the beginning of history until the Islamic conquest in the 7th century. There are outstanding collections of Greco-Roman culture, Coptic art, painted portraits from Fayyum, coins of Caesarea and Acre, terra-cottas of all periods, and finds from the Haifa area. The artifacts obtained through underwater archeology are particularly impressive.

Man³ Katz Museum. 89 Yefe Nof (Panorama Rd.). Phone 04/838- 3482. Admission donation. Sun-Mon and Wed-Thurs 10am-4pm; Tues 2-6pm; Fri 10am-1pm; Sat 10am-2pm. Bus: 22, 23, or 31. Carmelit: Central Carmel.

This building in Central Carmel, was once a rustic mountaintop villa where the French artist Man³ Katz lived (the neighborhood has certainly changed). The museum now houses Man³ Katz's own work and personal collection -- drawings, aquarelles, gouaches, oil paintings, sculpture, and Judaica -- as well as interesting, well planned visiting exhibits of contemporary art.

In Carmel

Technion City. Free admission. Visitor center, Sun-Thurs 8am- 2pm. Cafeteria, Sun-Thurs 8am-2pm; Fri 8am-noon. Closed Sat. Bus: 17 from Central Bus Station, 31 from Central Carmel, 19 from Hadar at Daniel St., next to the Armon Cinema on Ha-Nevi'im St., just down from Masaryk Sq.

Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology, is Israel's version of MIT. Begun in 1954, its 300-acre campus now consists of 50 buildings, including 12 dormitories, a wind-tunnel laboratory, and the Churchill Auditorium. It's a most impressive university complex with its view of the city, the bay, the coastline clear to Lebanon, and the snow-topped Syrian mountains. Most important, the reputation of the school has grown so rapidly that it attracts students from many foreign countries.

Because so many people come to see the Technion, the Coler-California Visitor Center (Phone 04/832-0664) has been established to introduce the campus to visitors. You'll be greeted by a real working robot when you come in. There's also a free 25-minute video showing the different kinds of modern technology being practiced, researched, and taught here. You'll also receive a pamphlet and map of the campus, which you can use to take your own self-guided tour. The student-priced cafeteria downstairs is highly recommended for a good budget lunch.

There are activities held every evening (except Monday) at Bet Student, the Technion's Student House (Phone 04/832- 0664; see "Haifa After Dark," below). You can stop in at Bet Student's pub, cafeteria, or restaurant for a meal at student prices.

University of Haifa. Phone 04/824-0093, 04/240-007, or 04/824-0097 for free guided tour reservations. Campus tours Sun-Thurs 10am-3:30pm. Bus: 24, 36, 37 or 37A.

On the Mount Carmel road from Haifa to the nearby Druze village of Daliat-el-Carmel you'll see the buildings and tower of the University of Haifa. Initially designed by the architect of Brasilia, Oscar Niemeyer, new sections planned by other architects were added in the 1990s.The university began operation in 1963, under the joint auspices of the City of Haifa and the Hebrew University. At that time, the students numbered 650; now 13,000 full-time degree students attend the university.

The campus offers a magnificent view. From the 30th (top) observatory floor of the Eshkol Tower, which you can visit on your own, Sunday through Thursday from 8am to 3:30pm (admission free), you get an incredible view of practically the entire north of Israel. Throughout the university's public spaces you'll find a surprising amount of paintings and sculpture. The large murals located in the university lobby are especially notable.

The campus has several impressive art galleries. The Oscar Ghez Gallery, on the tower's 30th floor, houses a moving memorial collection of works by artists who perished in the Holocaust, compiled by Mr. Ghez over a 30-year period. The University Art Gallery in the Main Building displays important works by Israeli and foreign artists. The Reuben and Edith Hecht Museum contains a compact but impressive Israeli archeology collection, with rotating exhibitions; there is also a wing devoted to art -- paintings by Impressionists and the Jewish School of Paris. Adjoining the Hecht Museum, (at press time under construction) is the Maagan Michael Ship Museum, slated to hold the world's oldest vessel, a 2,400-year-old Phoenician era merchant ship salvaged by university archaeologists off the coast just south of Haifa. The art galleries and the museum are open Sunday through Thursday from 10am to 4pm, Friday from 10am to 1pm, Saturday from 10am to 2pm. Admission is free.

The Haifa University Students Association sponsors many activities throughout the academic year. Call the Students Association (Phone 04/824-0544) for information. There is also a Hillel House (Phone 04/824-0762) with a full schedule of activities.

Stella Maris Lighthouse and Carmelite Monastery. Stella Maris Rd. Phone 04/833-7758. English masses Mon-Sat 6:30am; Sun 7 and 9am. Modest dress required. Church open daily 6:30am-1:30pm and 3-6pm. Bus: 25, 26, or 31.

From Ha-Nassi Boulevard and Tchernichovsky Street go northwest to the Stella Maris French Carmelite church, monastery, and hospice (P.O. Box 9047). In the 12th century, during the Crusader occupation of the region, religious hermits began to inhabit the caves of the Carmel, in emulation of Elijah the Prophet, whose life was strongly identified with this mountain. Within a century, these monastic hermits were organized into the Carmelite order. Although the order spread throughout Europe, its founders on the Carmel range were exiled at the time of the Mamluk conquest in 1291 and did not return until the 18th century. Construction of the present monastery and basilica was begun in 1836. Situated across the street from the Old Lighthouse, with a magnificent view of the sea, the entire ensemble of buildings, including the Lighthouse, is known as "Stella Maris." An earlier monastery complex on this site served as a hospital for Napoleon's soldiers during his unsuccessful siege of Acre in 1799. The pyramid in front of the church entryway stands as a memorial to the many abandoned French soldiers who were slaughtered by the Turks after Napoleon had retreated from his toehold on the coast near Akko. It bears the inscription "How are the mighty fallen in battle," from King David's lamentation over Saul and Jonathan.

The church is a beautiful structure, with Italian marble so brightly and vividly patterned that visitors sometimes mistakenly think the walls have been painted. Colorful paintings on the dome, done by Brother Luigi Poggi (1924- 28), depict episodes from the Old Testament, the most dramatic being the scene of Elijah swept up in a chariot of fire; but the statue of the Virgin Mary, carved from cedar of Lebanon, is also notable. The cave below the altar (which you can walk down into) is believed to have been inhabited by Elijah.

Be sure to visit the rooms to the right of the entryway, where you'll find a charming nativity scene, a museum with artifacts from the Byzantine church occupying this same spot before the Carmelites built here, and a small souvenir shop. One of the monks will gladly give you a free pamphlet with information about the history of this site, and the Carmelite order, dating from the arrival of the Crusaders on this mountain in the late 12th century. They will answer any questions you may have, and guide you to the various interesting details of the church, such as the many little votive candles burning on the alter above the cave, each representing a Carmelite community in another country (the United States has its candle up on the left).

In the Port

Clandestine Immigration and Naval Museum. 204 Allenby Rd. Phone 04/853-6249. Admission NIS 6 ($1.80) adults, NIS 3 (90¢) students. Mon and Wed-Thurs 8:30am-3pm; Sun and Tues 8:30am-4pm; Fri and holiday eves 9am-1pm. Closed Sat. Bus: 3, 5, 43, or 44.

The vessel Af-Al-Pi (Nevertheless) is now a part of this museum, a memorial commemorating all the ships that defied the British blockade to smuggle immigrants into Palestine. This clandestine immigration movement, called "Aliya Beth," is one of the most harrowing phases of Israeli history, when refugees from the Nazis and escapees from DP camps were packed onto illegal ships. Many such ships succeeded in making it undetected past British ships guarding Palestine's Mediterranean coastline; others were not so fortunate. The Struma, in 1941-42, waited for months at sea for some country to accept the 765 refugees aboard until at last it sank and all on board perished. Others, like the Patria, went down in Haifa harbor; hundreds died. Still others, like the Exodus, ran the British blockade only to have its passengers shipped to a Cyprus detention camp, or, pathetically enough, returned to a detention camp in Germany. Farther along Jaffa Road, past the bus and train stations, west in the direction of Tel Aviv, the road changes names, becoming Sederot Ha-Hagana (Hagana Boulevard). The Af-Al-Pi is on the left-hand side of the road.

More Attractions

The Rothschild Community House (Bet Rothschild), in Central Carmel near Haifa Auditorium at 142 Ha-Nassi Blvd. (Phone 04/838-2749), often has something of interest for visitors. Call to see what's up. Interesting, too, are the changing art exhibits and folklore programs at Bet Ha-Gefen (Phone 04/852-5251), the Arab-Jewish Community Center, on Ha-Gefen Street opposite the Chagall Artists' House.

Aerial Cable Car. Phone 04/833-5970. Round-trip NIS 18 ($5), one-way NIS 10 ($2.80) adults. Sat-Thurs 10am-5:30pm; Fri 10am-1:45pm. Bus: 26, 28, or 31 to the top terminal, or bus 40, 41, or 42 to the bottom terminal.

Directly across the road from the Af-Al-Pi is the lower terminal of the Haifa Aerial Cable Car, on your right-hand side beside the sea. The popular Yotvata Dairy Restaurant, famous for its salads and ice creams is also at the lower terminal. The cable car rides through the air from the beach at the western end of Bat Galim up to the tip of Mount Carmel, the site of the Old Lighthouse and Stella Maris. The round aerial cars, imported from Austria, are equipped with recorded messages about what you're seeing as you go up and down (flip the switch to choose English or Hebrew). The top terminal also has a place for refreshments; the bottom terminal's downstairs hall contains an exhibit of a different featured artist's work each week.

Beit Dagon Grain Museum. Kikar Plumer. Phone 04/866-4221. Free admission. Tours Sun-Fri 10:30am; call for reservations. The museum is only open to the public for the guided tours. Bus: 10, 12, or 22

On display are earthen storage jars, striking mosaic murals, and various exhibits showing the development of one of humankind's oldest industries -- the cultivation, handling, storage, and distribution of grain from ancient to modern times. There are even some grains of wheat here that are more than 4,000 years old, as well as fertility statues and flint grain sickles.

Chagall Artists' House. 24 Ha-Zionut Ave. Phone 04/852-2355. Free Admission. Sun-Thurs 9am-1pm and 4-7pm; Sat 10am-1pm. Bus: 10, 12, 22, 23, 25, 26, 32, or 41.

This gallery exhibits the works of contemporary Israeli artists. In 1998, there will be a grand exhibition for the 50th anniversary of the State of Israel.

Elijah's Cave. 230 Allenby Rd. Phone 04/852-7430. Free admission, but donations are accepted. Summer: Sun-Thurs 8am- 6pm; Fri 8am-1pm. Winter: Sun-Thurs 8am-5pm; Fri 8am-1pm. Closed Sat and holidays. Bus: 3, 5, 44, or 45 will let you off at the highway nearby.

From the Af-Al-Pi, it's just a short walk up to Elijah's Cave, nestled at the base of steep Cape Carmel, below the Stella Maris lighthouse and the Carmelite Monastery. Tradition has it that Elijah hid here when fleeing the wrath of King Ahab and his wife, Jezebel. It's also the site where Elijah established his school upon his return from exile, thus earning the name "School of the Prophets," where Elijah, among others, studied. The cave is also said to be a place where the Holy Family found shelter for a night on their return from Egypt. The cave is sacred to Jews, Christians, Muslims, and Druze, all of whom venerate the prophet Elijah. Pilgrimages and huge dramatic ceremonies are held at this cave many times each year. Head coverings are available at the entrance to the cave.

Israel Edible Oil Museum. In the Sherman Oil Factory. Phone 04/865-4237. Admission NIS 10 ($2.80). Sun-Thurs 9am-2pm. Bus: 2.

Many interesting items connected with the cooking oil industry in Israel, from over 2,000 years ago up to the present, are housed in the original old stone factory building.

Museum of Prehistory, the Zoo, and the Biological Institute. 124 Ha-Tishbi St. Phone 04/837-1833 for the museum, 04/837- 2886 for the zoo. Admission NIS 20 ($5.60), NIS 16 ($4.50) students. Museum and Institute: Sun-Thurs 8am-3pm; Fri 8am- 1pm; Sat 10am-2pm. Zoo: Sept-June Sun-Thurs 8am-4pm, Fri 8am- 1pm, Sat 9am-4pm; July-Aug Sun-Thurs 8am-6pm. Bus: 22, 31, or 37. Carmelit: Central Carmel.

The first of these maintains a permanent exhibit of fossils and artifacts from the Carmel region. Each of the others, in its own way, features the animal life of the country, with particular attention to the fish indigenous to Israel's waters and the fauna of the Carmel region.

National Museum of Science and Technology. Old Technion Campus, Balfour St. Phone 04/862-8111. Admission NIS 14 ($3.90) adults; discounts for students. Mon and Wed-Thurs 9am-5pm; Tues 9am-7pm; Fri 9am-1pm; Sat 10am-2pm. Bus: 18, 19, 21, 28, 37, 42, and 50 come nearby.

The old Technion campus is being developed as a museum site, home of the Technoda -- the National Museum of Science and Technology. This museum demonstrates the latest discoveries in Israeli science. Walk up the hill from Herzl St., and you'll find the entrance to the Old Technion campus, on the right.

Railway Museum. 40 Hativat Golani Ave. Phone 04/856-4293. Admission NIS 8 ($2.30). Sun, Tues, and Thurs 9am-noon. Bus: 17, 42, or 193.

Two 1950s-vintage diesel locomotives, several cabooses, a club car built in 1922, and a passenger coach dating from 1893 are the major exhibits, but there are also displays of photographs, timetables, tickets, and other memorabilia going all the way back to the railroad's construction in Ottoman times (1882). This museum is in the old Haifa East railway station near Feisal Square.

Parks & Gardens

The grounds of the Bahá'í gardens are split by Zionism Avenue. Farther up the hill is the lovely Mitzpoor Ha-Shalom (Peace View Park), also called the Ursula Malbin Sculpture Garden, at the corner of Shnayim Be-November Street. Amid trees, flowers, and sloping lawns are 18 bronze sculptures by Ursula Malbin of men, women, children, and animals at play. The view from here is magnificent -- you can see all of Haifa's port area, Haifa Bay, Acre, Nahariya, and up to Rosh Ha-Niqra at the Lebanese border, plus the mountains all around.

Mount Carmel National Park, Israel's largest national park, has 25,000 acres of pine, eucalyptus, and cypress forest. It encompasses a large area of the Carmel mountain range, and contains many points of interest that are well marked and easily reachable. And, of course, it also has picnic areas, playgrounds, a restaurant, and rest rooms. Take bus 37.

6 Organized Tours

The Haifa Tourist Board (Phone 04/837-4010) offers a free 2 1/2-hour guided walking tour of Central Carmel (atop the mountain) at 10am every Saturday morning. The meeting point, marked by a sign, is on Panorama Road (Yefe Nof) at the intersection with Shar Ha-Levanon; Ha-Levanon is the little street that meets Ha-Nassi right behind the Gan Ha-Em Carmelit station. Modest dress is required. Ha-Nassi curves and heads northwest behind the Carmelit station. To reach the meeting point, take bus no. 23 from Ha-Nevi'im Street, or bus no. 21 from Herzl Street, both in Hadar; they run on Saturday (note that the Carmelit does not).

The following companies have all sorts of tour plans of the Haifa Region for your consideration: Egged Tours, 4 Nordau St. (Phone 04/862-3131); and Mitzpa Tours, 1 Nordau St. (Phone 04/867-4341).

Carmel Mountains The Society for Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI), 18 Hillel St. (Phone 04/ 866-4135; fax 04/866-5825), does excellent urban and nature trail tours of the Carmel Mountains, and also sells excellent hiking and walking maps of the Carmel range.

A 3-hour tour to the crafts village of Ein Hod (see "Day Trips from Haifa," below) leaves most weekdays at 9:30am. It includes a drive through the Carmel mountain range, visits to University of Haifa and the Druze market of Daliat-el-Carmel, and stops at art galleries, artists' studios, and other points of interest. Check with the tourist office for current schedules.

For bike tours of the Carmel region, contact Gideon at Phone 04/822-1288 or 050/413-239 for information about his tours and group rides.

7 Sports, Outdoor & Other Pursuits

Ha-Peol and Maccabi are two sports leagues in Israel. By contacting either of the leagues or the Haifa Tourist Board, you can get the latest data on where to go to play tennis, to exercise or work out in a gym, or take in sports events as a spectator.

BEACHES

Carmel Beach (Hof Ha-Carmel) can be reached by bus no. 3 or 45 from Shapiro Street. In winter, at least one beach restaurant pavilion remains open until 7pm; in summer until 8:30pm. Never more than $10, and usually less, dinner at the beach in summer, with the sunset over the Mediterranean at the end of an afternoon swimming in the warm turquoise sea, is one of the most memorable dining experiences Haifa has to offer.

Hof Shaket (Quiet Beach) in the harbor area of Bat Galim, is open with a lifeguard year-round. It can be reached via bus no. 40, 41, or 42. The Bat Galim sea beach is on the opposite side of the small Bat Galim promontory. Entrance fee is NIS 5 ($1.40),

There is also an adjoining beach, a sandy stretch known as the Municipal Beach, free to all comers. These in-city beaches are often crowded and not as clean as the more distant strand of Hof Carmel. There's also a public beach at Kiryat Haim, a Haifa suburb; take bus no. 51. South of town, heading toward Tel Aviv, are a number of other good public beaches, including Hof Zamir and Hof Dado.

Bicycling

Also see above, under "Organized Tours."

FOLK DANCING

Israeli folk dancing sessions meet Monday at 8:30pm at Haifa University and Tuesday and Thursday at 9pm at Bet Ha-Student at the Technion. International Folk Dancers meet Thursday at 8:30pm at Bet Rothschild, to the side of the Haifa Auditorium on Ha-Nassi Boulevard.

SWIMMING

In the Central Carmel section you'll find the Maccabi swimming pool on Bikkurim Street (Phone 04/838-8341), heated in winter, and serviced by bus no. 21, 22, or 23 and by the Carmelit. Admission is NIS 16 ($4.50), but the fee doubles in winter. Don't forget the pleasant gardened pool at the Dan Carmel Hotel, for a whole day's worth of pool, shower, and sporting privileges.

TENNIS & SQUASH

A 15-minute ride south of downtown Haifa, in the Kefar Zamir suburb, are the Haifa Tennis Center (Phone 04/852-2721 or 04/853-2014) and the Haifa Squash Center (Phone 04/853- 9160). Both have regular hours, and you're welcome to come and play, but you must call in advance to reserve a court. Take bus no. 43, 45, or 3A.

8 Shopping

Haifa has a number of modern indoor shopping malls, including the Panorama Center in Central Carmel, Migdal Haneve'im in the Hadar District, and the Chorev Center on Chorev Street at the intersection of Pica Street. The Panorama Center is most easily accessible to visitors staying in the Carmel Center, and offers branches of a number of the country's best women's clothing stores, including Dorin Frankfort and Oui Set. Herzl and Nordau streets make for an interesting window-shopping stroll, but the downtown center of Haifa is not what it once was for quality stores.

Masada Street, with its own Carmelit stop halfway up the mountain between Hadar and the Carmel Center has become home to a number of small, offbeat antique and curiosity shops. My favorite stop here is Yad B'homer Contemporary Ceramics Cooperative Gallery at 9A Masada St. Phone 04/862-9239. Here you can see the work of eight artisans of high quality, as well as special exhibits of guest ceramists. There is also a shelf of very reasonably priced Ethiopian figurines and Judaica. It's open Sunday and Monday and Wednesday and Thursday from 10am to 1pm and 4 to 7pm; Tuesday and Friday from 10am to 2pm. Most shops on the street keep similar hours. A walk down Masada Street gives you a feel for the architectural structure of Haifa's residential neighborhoods, with 1930s and 40s apartment buildings virtually climbing up and down the mountain on either side of the street.

There are branches of the Steimatzky Bookstores at 82 Ha-Atzma'ut St., 16 Herzl St. in Bet Ha-Kranot, 130 Ha-Nassi Blvd., and in the Central Bus Station. For used books try Beverly's Books, 18 Herzl St., second floor.

See "Day Trips from Haifa" for information about the artists' village of Ein Hod, where you can shop for silver, enamel, and gold jewelry, hand-blown glass, pottery, and other contemporary crafts. Also see the section on the Druze villages for handicrafts.

9 Haifa After Dark

Haifa does not have as much nightlife as Tel Aviv, or even Jerusalem. Check in the Jerusalem Post, which despite its name is a national newspaper covering events, cultural offerings, and movies throughout Israel. The Friday-morning edition includes the indispensable weekly calendar of happenings, some of which are in Haifa. Better yet, call the 24-hour telephone hotline for "What's On in Haifa" (Phone 04/837-4253), and check with any of the tourist information offices, to find out about special events happening around town.

At the Technion and at the University of Haifa, entertainment of one kind or another goes on almost every night. Every evening (except Monday) at Bet Student, the Technion's Student House, there's folk, disco, and '60s dancing, films, and other activities. Call Phone 04/832-0664 during the daytime for information. The many activities at Haifa University include movies (free), disco, folk dancing, performances by popular Israeli singers and bands, and more; call the Students Association (Phone 04/824-0544) for information.

The Performing Arts

Haifa Auditorium. 138 Ha-Nassi Blvd. Phone 04/838-0013.

This is Haifa's largest concert hall, where you can find symphony, opera, the Israel Philharmonic, dance concerts, and many other cultural events and big happenings. There's also usually an interesting art display in the lobby, which you can see anytime for free, from 4 to 7pm (except Friday). Haifa Auditorium is just a short distance south of the Central Carmel commercial district, where Ha-Nassi Boulevard becomes Moriah Avenue. Ticket prices vary with performance.

Haifa Municipal Theater. At the intersection of Pevsner, Yehoshua, and Trumpeldor. Phone 04/862-1555. Box Office open Sun-Thurs 9am-9pm; Fri 9am-1pm.

Lots of shows are offered at this theater where the play performances are sometimes in Hebrew, sometimes in English, and sometimes both, in simultaneous translation. Ticket prices vary with performance; seats for many productions are NIS 100 ($28).

James de Rothschild Cultural and Community Center. Bet Rothschild, 142 Ha-Nassi Blvd. Phone 04/838-2749.

Next to Haifa Auditorium, this community center always has something going on: a dance, exhibit, or concert. Also, inside the community center is the Haifa Cin³-math²que (see below under Films).

Clubs, Bars & Other Entertainment

Looking for a place to hang out, listen to music, have a drink, and dance? The Haifa Tourist Board Office, 106 Ha-Nassi Blvd. in Central Carmel, across the street from the Nof Hotel (Phone 04/374-010), has compiled a list of recommendable spots; stop by for information. Haifa is a port of call for the United States Mediterranean Fleet. with a USO at 114 Yefe Nof St., around the corner from the Dan Panorama Hotel, and when the fleet's in, pubs and bars all over the city become busy.

CLUBS

Martef Esser (Cellar Ten), 140 Ha-Nassi Blvd. on the far side of Rothschild Center (Phone 04/824-0762), was once a Rothschild wine cellar. It's now a nightspot run by and for students, with live music of many kinds (jazz, classical, and more), and a nice wicker coffeehouse/bar atmosphere. There is a cover charge on Friday.

Fever, Gan Ha-Em Promenade (no phone) is a favorite disco with teenagers. Summer weekend evenings are busiest, and it s open after 11pm. Thursdays are over-25 nights

BARS

Many of Haifa's restaurants have bars with entertainment. Both the upper and lower terminals of the Aerial Cable Car are enjoyable places to stop on an evening out, with restaurants, bars, and dancing. You can ride the cable car until 11pm; most of the year, until midnight.

Walking along the Bat Galim Promenade toward the cable-car terminal, you'll pass Panass Boded (Phone 04/534-978), a black-and-white pub/piano bar with an archway over the door. Though the sign is in Hebrew, you'll know it's Panass Boded by the entertainment listings posted out front. Inside, you'll find Israeli Maccabee beer for NIS 7 ($2.10) and a network of rock videos for decor. It's open daily in summer 8pm to 4am.

Films

Haifa's Cin³math²que, 142 Ha-Nassi Blvd. (Phone 04/838- 3424), is housed in the James de Rothschild Cultural and Community Center. This film repertory theater shows a wide variety of international films (up to three different movies every day, many in English, most with English subtitles), including special-interest art film screenings. Tickets are NIS 22 ($6.20). The Cin³math²que hosts the Haifa Film Festival each fall at the time of Sukkot. Call for information about what's going on.

10 Day Trips from Haifa

Daliat-el-Carmel & Isfiya

The Druze villages are located 15 minutes from the Ahuza section of Carmel. If you're driving, just ask for the road to Daliat-el-Carmel. Isfiya is the first village you'll reach from Haifa; Daliat-el-Carmel is a very short ride farther. The trip takes about half an hour, and it's a splendid drive along the uppermost rim of Carmel. The Mediterranean is way down below you, and so is the entire city, the port, and the industrial area. Bring your camera.

Architecturally, the villages are no longer the quaint enclaves of 30 or 40 years ago; instead, they've become part of the urban sprawl at the outer edge of the city. Haifans visit the villages for the many home-style Middle Eastern restaurants that have sprung up, and for bargain basement shopping (see below).

The Druze are Arabic-speaking people who are, however, not Muslims. Theirs is a rather secretive religion; they draw heavily on the Bible and venerate such personages as Jethro (a Midianite priest and the non-Israelite father-in-law of Moses). The Druze were loyal to Israel during the 1948 war, and several of their brigades are highly respected detachments in the Israeli army.

They are an industrious people; you'll see their terraced hillsides, meticulously cared for and, as a result, very fertile. Many houses are new, and also square and boxlike in the Arabic style. Outside their own villages, Druze find employment on kibbutzim as electricians, builders, carpenters, and mechanics. Their hospitality is legendary.

In both villages, you can buy quite unusual souvenirs and handcrafted items, such as new or antique baskets and trays in the Druze style at moderate prices, but bargaining is necessary. (Markets will be closed on Friday, the Druze Sabbath day.) There are several pleasant cafes in both villages. You'll see older men in flowing gowns and headdresses, often wearing big mustaches, while the younger men wear Western-style clothes.

You can reach the villages on bus no. 192, which leaves infrequently from the Central Bus Station; but bus service back to Haifa seems to vanish by 3pm. Various tours also go to these villages (check with the Tourist Information Office for details). There's a sherut service that leaves Haifa during the evening from 6pm to 6am, departing from Hadar at the corner of Shemaryahu Levin and Herzl streets. Between 6am and 6pm, the sherut service from the port area is at the corner of Ha-Atzma'ut Road and Eliyahu Ha-Navi Street, near Kikar Paris. The sherut takes 25 minutes to reach Daliat-el-Carmel and the fare is the same as by bus.

Where to Stay

Stella Carmel Hospice. Isfiya (P.O. Box 7045), Haifa 31070. Phone 04/839-1692. Dormitory and private rms. $28 single; $56 double; $12 per person dormitory. Rates include breakfast. No credit cards. Bus:192 from Haifa bus station.

A short bus trip from Haifa, this atmospheric place is operated by the Anglican Church. It's in the style of an old-fashioned Middle Eastern country inn. Public areas are filled with crafts; private rooms are plain but adequate. Only married couples may share double rooms. Lunch and dinner, as well as breakfast, are available here.

Where to Dine

The Druze villages are lined with eating establishments geared to the weekend crowd.

Ganei Daliyah. Isfiya-Daliat-el-Carmel Road. Phone 04/839- 5367. Reservations recommended on weekends. Main courses NIS 25-50 ($7-$14). AE, V. Daily 10am-11pm or midnight. MIDDLE EASTERN.

A pleasant garden filled with the sound of its fountain and a covered dining terrace are presided over by a colorful proprietor, Mr. Toufik Halaby. Standard Middle Eastern dishes are a cut above normal, and there are a few well-prepared unusual offerings. The pigeon stuffed with onion, pine nuts, and sumac, grilled on an open fire, is earthy and excellent, as is the homemade Druze bread, and the oven-baked sweetbreads. This is a good choice for a leisurely roadside repast. If you come late at night and have had too much arak, Mr. Halaby rents rooms in a simple hotel above the restaurant. Arabic and Hebrew are spoken. Coming from Haifa, look for the restaurant with its front garden and sign on the right as you leave Isfiya, and before you enter Daliat-el-Carmel.

Muhraka

Half a mile south of Daliat-el-Carmel, the road to Muhraka forks off to the left side of the main road. Its destination is not posted, but it meanders and climbs through scrub oak and pine woods to the monastery at Muhraka, the place where Elijah defeated the prophets of Baal. You'll see a dramatic stone statue of Elijah, sword raised to heaven, and a lovely Carmelite monastery, open Monday through Saturday from 8am to 1pm and again from 2:30 to 5pm (on Friday until noon only). The view from the roof of the monastery (NIS 2 admission) is unsurpassed; you can see halfway across Israel to Migdal Ha-Emek and the mountains near Nazareth. There are tables for picnics on the grounds outside the monastery. The name "Muhraka," or "place of burning," refers to a time when this extraordinary vista point was a sacred high place for burnt offerings and sacrifices in Canaanite and early Israelite times. Interurban bus 192 or sheruts from downtown Haifa will take you to the fork in the road that leads to Muhraka for NIS 10 ($2.80). From there it's a half-hour uphill walk; returning buses are few, and seem to end by 3pm. The Druze-Muhraka area is most easily visited by car, or as a day-long bicycle excursion from Haifa.

Ein Hod

In the coastal hills, 12 kilometers (7 miles) south of Haifa, off highway 4 (the old Haifa-Tel Aviv road that runs inland and parallel to Highway 2, the major coastal highway), is the artists' village of Ein Hod. Road signs will point the way for drivers, and from 10am to 5:30pm there's Egged bus service all the way up the moun-tainside to this famous colony. You can also take bus no. 921 to the Ein Hod roadway that intersects with the older, more inland Tel Aviv-Haifa Highway 4, and hitchhike up the mountainside from there. (True hikers will find the half-hour uphill trek a simple one.)

Ein Hod (Well of Beauty) was built over an abandoned Arab village in 1953 by Israeli sculptors, painters, and potters, under the guidance of Marcel Janco. The village now includes a museum of surrealist art, several workshops, and an outdoor theater. It's a picturesque place, tranquil and rugged looking, with a view of sloping olive groves and the broad Mediterranean that can inspire even the nonartistic. Crumbling archways and Moorish vaults are relics of the past. Most of Ein Hod's full-time residents are artisans, and sell their work in a large, cooperative gallery.

Cooperation is emphasized: the village members have their own council of elders; the handyman is employed by the entire community; the gallery takes a much smaller percentage on sales than do other galleries; the workshops are shared; and the proceeds from the amphitheater's shows and concerts, which range from folk and classical to hard rock (summer weekends only), are used for the welfare of the village. Call Phone 04/984-3152 or 04/984-2029 for information.

The Janco-Dada Museum (Phone 04/984-2350) is open Sunday to Friday from 9:30am to 4pm, on Saturday until 5pm. There is a pleasant snack bar/cafe for visitors.

The Ein Hod Gallery (Phone 04/984-2548) carries a good selection of the village's work -- silver jewelry, lots of ceramics, lithographs, etchings, oil paintings, water-colors, tapestries and shawls, sculpture, and woodwork. The gallery staff will box your purchases and mail them to you wherever you live. Admission to the gallery is by a small donation for adults. It's open Saturday to Thursday from 9:30am to 5pm and Friday from 9:30am to 4pm; Open every day except Yom Kippur.

Where to Stay

Nir Etzion Kibbutz Hotel. Carmel Beach 30808. Phone 04/984- 2541. Fax 04/984-3344. 74 rms (all with bath or shower). A/C TV TEL. $90-$138 double. MC, V.

If you are driving and continue along the road that runs through Ein Hod, you'll reach the delightful resort of Nir Etzion. The kibbutz offers glatt kosher meals, an on-kibbutz synagogue, in-season pool, children's playground, baby-sitting service, transportation to nearby Dor Beach, and a warm, friendly atmosphere. The kibbutz is also near Mount Carmel Forest. Jewish holidays and weekends and July 5 to September 1, you may be required to take half or full board, which adds an additional 30% to your bill. A Sabbath atmosphere is maintained on Shabbat.

Frommer's Favorite Haifa Experiences

Promenading. The view of Haifa from the promenade in Central Carmel makes you keep coming back for more. By day or night, it's always lovely. Combine it with a meal that gives you a table right by the edge, or coffee and an elysian vista with dessert (see "Cafes," above).

Beachcombing. Haifa's great beaches are to the south of the city, reachable by municipal bus or, in summer, by special shuttle from the big Central Carmel hotels, as well as sheruts. At Hof Ha-Carmel (Carmel Beach) or the quieter Hof Dado just to the south, you can combine a dip in the warm gentle waves with shish kebab or falafel from one of the many beachside stands. Stay late and you'll see the sunset over the Mediterranean.

A Day Trip to Old Akko. It's amazing to think that two such different cities could be located on opposite ends of Haifa's sweeping bay: modern Haifa with its panoramas, and medieval Akko, with its labyrinth of bazaars, caravansaries, and mosques. A short bus ride gets you the 14 miles up the coast where you can explore this largely unrestored architectural treasure, have lunch or dinner in true Mediterranean style at an outdoor harborside cafe, and even take a boat ride around the Old City walls.

      Robert Ullian, Haifa., Frommer's Israel, 01-01-1998.
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