Haifa is the site of a famous Bahai Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site situated in the heart of the city. It also is known for its blend of Jewish and Arab residents living in mixed neighborhoods.
Set high on Mount Carmel, the city predates the Bronze age. What was then "Tel Abu Hawam" served as a land bridge over the historic Bronze Age trading route, the "Vi Maris," connecting Egypt with the Levant and Mesopotamia. This trade route passed through Haifa before arriving at the Golan Heights on its way to Damascus.
Under Islamic rule, Haifa prospered, its main industries the production of glass and products dyed using seashells. After the Crusaders besieged the city, however, it dwindled to a small fishing village.
Haifa became important to the Bahai faith because its founder, Bahaullah, was imprisoned there by Ottoman authorities. The city remains an important site of pilgrimage for members of the Bahai faith, and the Bahai World Center is one of Haifazzz*zs main attractions.
In 1761, the Ottoman ruler Dhaher al-Omar destroyed and rebuilt Haifa in a new location, fortifying it with a wall. In 1868, German Templers arrived in Haifa, settling in what is now known as the German Colony of Haifa. The Templers built and operated a steam-based power station, opened factories and inaugurated carriage service to Acre, Nazareth and Tiberias, playing a key role in modernizing the city.
By 1945, Jewish immigration had tipped the cityzzz*zs demographic balance towards a Jewish majority. Under the UN partition plan of 1947, Haifa was designated to become part of the proposed Jewish state. Today, it is one of the largest cities in Israel, and its Palestinian population is less than 10 percent.
Home to an industrial port and a petroleum refinery, Haifa is an important contributor to Israelzzz*zs resources and economy. Two Israeli academic institutions, the University of Haifa and the Technion, produce graduates in the fields of science and technology.
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