Haifa (Hebrew: חֵיפָה); is the largest city in northern Israel, and the third-largest city in the country, with a population of over
265,000. Another 300,000 people (almost all of them Jewish) live in towns directly adjacent to the city including the cities of the
Krayot, as well as, Tirat Carmel, and Nesher. Together these areas form a contiguous urban area home to nearly 600,000 residents which
makes up the inner core of the Haifa metropolitan area. Haifa has a mixed population of Jews and Arabs, although Jews make up a
90% majority. The Arab population used to be predominantly Christian, while 28% of the Jewish population is from the Former Soviet
Union. It is also home to the Bahá'í World Centre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Built on the slopes of Mount Carmel, Haifa has a history dating back to Biblical times. The earliest known settlement in the vicinity
was Tell Abu Hawam, a small port city established in the Late Bronze Age (14th century BCE). In the 3rd century CE, Haifa was known
as a dye-making center. Over the centuries, the city has changed hands: It has been conquered and ruled by the Byzantines, Arabs,
Crusaders, Ottomans, Egyptians, and the British. Since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, the city has been governed by
the Haifa Municipality.
Today, the city is a major seaport located on Israel's Mediterranean coastline in the Bay of Haifa covering 63.7 square kilometres (24.6
sq mi). It is located about 90 kilometres (56 mi) north of Tel Aviv and is the major regional center of northern Israel. Two respected
academic institutions, the University of Haifa and the Technion, are located in Haifa, and the city plays an important role in Israel's
economy. It has several high-tech parks, among them the oldest and largest in the country, an industrial port, and a petroleum
refinery. Haifa was formerly the western terminus of an oil pipeline from Iraq via Jordan.
Early history --
A small port city known today as Tell Abu Hawam was established Late Bronze Age (14th century BCE). During the 6th century BCE, Greek
geographer Scylax told of a city "between the bay and the Promontory of Zeus" (i.e., the Carmel) which may be a reference to Haifa
during the Persian period. By Hellenistic times, the city had moved to a new site south of what is now Bat Galim because the port's
harbour had become blocked with sand. About the 3rd Century CE, the city was first mentioned in Talmudic literature, as a Jewish
fishing village and the home of Rabbi Avdimos and other Jewish scholars. A Greek-speaking population living along the coast at
this time was engaged in commerce.
Haifa was located near the town of Shikmona, a center for making the traditional Tekhelet dye used in the garments of the high priests
in the Temple. The archaeological site of Shikmona is southwest of Bat Galim. Mount Carmel and the Kishon River are also mentioned
in the Bible. A grotto on the top of Mount Carmel is known as the "Cave of Elijah", traditionally linked to the Prophet Elijah
and his apprentice, Elisha. In Arabic, the highest peak of the Carmel range is called the Muhraka, or "place of burning," harking
back to the burnt offerings and sacrifices there in Canaanite and early Israelite times
Early Haifa is believed to have occupied the area which extends from the present-day Rambam Hospital to the Jewish Cemetery on Yafo
Street. The inhabitants engaged in fishing and agriculture.
Byzantine, Arab and Crusader rule --
Under Byzantine rule, Haifa continued to grow but did not assume major importance. In the 7th century, the city was conquered by the
Persians. Under the Rashidun Caliphate, Haifa began to develop. In the 9th century under the Umayyad and Abbasid Caliphates, Haifa
established trading relations with Egyptian ports and the city featured several shipyards. The inhabitants, Arabs and Jews, engaged in
trade and maritime commerce. Glass production and dye-making from marine snails were the city's most lucrative industries.
Prosperity ended in 1100, when Haifa was besieged and blockaded by the Crusaders and then conquered after a fierce battle with its
Jewish and Muslim inhabitants. Under the Crusaders, Haifa was reduced to a small fishing and agricultural village. It was a
part of the Principality of Galilee within the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Following their victory at the Battle of Hattin, Saladin's Ayyubid
army captured Haifa in mid-July 1187. The Crusaders under Richard the Lionheart retook Haifa in 1191. The Carmelites established
a church on Mount Carmel in the 12th century. Under Muslim rule, the building was turned into a mosque, later becoming a hospital.
In the 19th century, it was restored as a Carmelite monastery over a cave associated with Elijah, the prophet.
Mamluk, Ayyubid, Ottoman and Egyptian rule --
The city's Crusader fortress was destroyed in 1187 by Saladin. In 1265, the army of Baibars the Mamluk captured Haifa, destroying its
fortifications, which had been rebuilt by King Louis IX of France, as well as the majority of the city's homes to prevent the European
Crusaders from returning. For much of their rule, the city was desolate in the Mamluk period between the 13th and 16th centuries.
 Information from this period is scarce. However, during Mamluk rule in the 14th century, al-Idrisi wrote that Haifa served as
the port for Tiberias and featured a "fine harbor for the anchorage of galleys and other vessels.
In 1761 Dhaher al-Omar, a Bedouin ruler of Acre and Galilee, demolished the city and rebuilt Haifa in a new location, fortifying it with
a wall. This event is marked as the beginning of the town's modern era. After al-Omar's death in 1775, the town remained under
Ottoman rule until 1918, with the exception of two brief periods. In 1799, Napoleon Bonaparte conquered Haifa during his unsuccessful
campaign to conquer Palestine and Syria, but soon had to withdraw. Between 1831 and 1840, the Egyptian viceroy Muhammad Ali governed
Haifa, after his son Ibrahim Pasha had wrested its control from the Ottomans....