Haifa City & Bahai Gardens

So go without fear and no doubt. Waiting for you, you’re welcome! Tell me, rabbi, can you jump with a parachute on Saturday?

– You can jump, but you can not open the parachute. (Jewish humor).

Haifa City – live with the buzz !

The next morning, at eight o’clock, our bus was heading north. During the day, we had to visit three cities at once: Caesarea, Acre and Haifa. Early departure did not bother. First of all, the time here is two hours behind Russian. And secondly, how long can you stay in bed when there is a sumptuous sun behind the window! Some people even managed to escape and dive into the sea. Vodichka invigorating, only 19-20 degrees, but this happiness is not less !

Israel is a small country and the roads are good. Therefore, traveling in a comfortable bus is a pleasure. Of course, you can rent a car, but the price of fuel bites painfully – about 65 rubles per liter of gasoline 95! In addition, you can appeal to an Arab settlement without knowing it, and it is always justified that strangers get angry, as warned the guides.

Caesarea, our first stop, is a small town on the Mediterranean. Once upon a time there was the residence of the famous king of Judah Herod. In the story, he remained above all a cruel murderer of babies, among whom was to be the newborn Messiah, that is to say his future rival for the throne. But for reasons of objectivity, it must be said that Herod was not only a wicked and paranoid, but also an excellent administrator of the state. The Edomites (ie who are not Jews of blood), who also received Roman citizenship through his friendship with Caesar, Herod the Great managed to govern Judea for 34 years. He was a good commander and organizer. In his time, large-scale constructions were launched in the country, and King Solomon’s magnificent Jewish temple was erected in Jerusalem (that’s right, later destroyed as the first) .

The girlfriend tzahala. Soon, she will have to take a rifle …

The secular ficus guard the entrance to the underground city

In Caesarea, where we arrived, archaeologists discovered a few years ago the remains of the port, the palace and the theater that Herod the Great built centuries ago. Tourists now respectfully examine these artifacts of impressive sizes, then wander under the stone arches of preserved public baths, click on cameras. During the seaside season, a visit of the ruins can be perfectly combined with a swim. The sea is close, the beach is excellent.

The city of Acre, where we met for about twenty minutes, is also famous for the excavations of archaeologists. But here they managed to “dig up” an entire underground city built by the Crusaders and Ottomans. With high vaults, huge halls and a secret passage leading directly to the sea, this building is really impressed! I particularly remember the interactive tour to the restored Turkish baths. We were shown a short video game about how people were washing at that time, and then they went to many bathrooms. The attendant there was known as the most respected man, he was both a massage therapist, a doctor and a psychologist! To be honest, after all that I saw, I wanted to absorb the hot steam from the steam room. I remembered Turkey Bodrum, with its beautiful bath complex,

“You’ll have a bath tomorrow, but another,” Anton reassured. – And now we are going to Haifa.

Haifa creativity artists

A walk through Haifa started in the Arab district. In two days of traveling to Israel, I learned to recognize Arab neighborhoods and villages. First of all, the house with flat roofs. It is a roof, flat, because in the future, it can serve as a basis for a new superstructure. When a son grows up and gets married in an Arab family, he usually starts building his own family nest over the parents’ home. The youngest son is likely to do the same thing. It’s easy to guess from such unobtrusive constructions, and even garbage on the streets – the Arabs live here. As the Israelis have said, they may not pay utility bills for years, they will hide their taxes – a sort of protest, for example, against “occupation”. But despite everything, they get along well, Arabs and Jews. Trade, go to the restaurant, find a job. In Tel Aviv, I saw a worker in the courtyard of a Jewish restaurant, carpeting a carpet, silently praying to Allah. And none of the visitors showed a hint of irritation.

In Haifa, in the Muslim quarter, live multiethnic artists (apparently due to lower prices). The creative character of the inhabitants is immediately visible – on the painted facades of the houses. And these are not naughty graffiti, but whole images on plaster. It is difficult to say if these frescoes will live to their historical recognition, but we have already appreciated them and that is the essential !

Bahai Gardens, view from MoshavGermanit

At the end of the neighborhood, on the village square, several dark-skinned children gathered a big New Year tree. Or Christmas. In the context where the sea was blue in the distance and under the warm rays of the midday sun, this image was very amusing. In addition, signs in our native language, such as “Gastronomik Karina” or “Best Job Here”, seemed amusing in the streets of the city. Our compatriots Haifa, as it turned out, also attracts. I want to believe that not only the low price of the apartments …

Perhaps the main “thing” of Haifa – Bahai gardens. The construction of majestic landscapes, glorifying the temple and the Baha’i religion, as if a green stream crossed the terraces of Mount Carmel towards the sea. On the rare earth, here and suddenly, such beauty !

To see this “wonder of the world” up close, you must go to the highest of the nineteen (!) Terraces and cross the guarded main entrance. Hard guys – almost like landing at ElAl – inspecting the bags and giving instructions: you can not eat and eat, chew gum, stand on the marble parapets inside. Even the fact that unarmed security (adherents of loyal Baha’i pacifists) does not provoke the desire to discuss or joke …

These gardens are said to have been created by Baha’is solely through donations from members of their religious community around the world and their personal participation. For all, it took almost $ 250 million over 10 years. It’s hard to say a lot or a little. St. Isaac’s Cathedral in St. Petersburg, for example, was built until 40 years old! And in Bahai Gardens and now work exclusively volunteers from different parts of the world. That is obedience. That’s perhaps why it’s so extraordinarily beautiful here, as it happens where a soul is invested in work.

Especially for lazy hedonists: the beauty of Bahai Gardens can be perfectly observed at the foot of Mount Carmel, sipping fresh white wine at one of MoshavGermanit’s many restaurants. In the past, the German settler district is now a very pretty street in which are located the best restaurants in the city and trendy shops. It is particularly nice here at night, when you can sit comfortably on the open terrace overlooking the sea or the already mentioned Bahai gardens.

In the evening, we visited another wonderful place in the suburbs of Haifa: the beautiful temple and the monastery of StellaMaris.Order of the Carmelites. It was built on the site of a cave where the prophet Elijah had hidden from the persecution and from where he had ascended to heaven, in which you can descend the steps of the temple and immediately feel the contrast of the smoked arches with the glittering Italian marble of the basilica above. It is interesting, but what would the first preachers of Christianity say to the popovoda of all this precious magnificence erected in holy places? Is it really necessary to feel the spiritual connection with the Almighty? Personally, I feel closer to the authentic style of the small Orthodox churches of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, of which there are many others in Veliky Novgorod or Staraya Ladoga. You enter, your head bent under the low arches, and you immediately feel that unique energy, called “the food of the centuries” … Although I am distracted. Let’s go back to Israel after all. Like it or not, it’s here that religion has emerged. It’s better to have distant relatives in the Middle East than close relatives in the Far East. (Jewish humor).

In the morning I drank, and … in the evening in the bath !

After spending the night in Haifa the next morning, we left for Nazareth. But before going to the city of Jesus’ childhood, we had to go to the “pagans”, singing Bacchus … In fact, these guys are orthodox Jews, they just work in the cellar. And works well! Their wine is really excellent: red and white and sparkling. After half an hour of tasting with a snack of cheese, canapés and desserts, we did not want to move. No wonder that in Russia we are told: I drank it in the morning and the day is free! We sat at the tables on the lawn, the sweet Israeli sun tickled the neck nicely, the world around us seemed beautiful. Drawn to speak. Of course, we talked about wine. In Israel, there are about 70 wineries and nearly 400 wine brands. They are even exported to the United States, the United Kingdom and Italy. But before the Russian bottle with the inscriptionMadeinIsrael for some reason do not reach. No one but Onishchenko’s machinations …

The grapes on this earth have been cultivated since the days of Abraham. But the constant war and the change of culture prevented the development of wine traditions. What did they do only in the 19th century, when Baron Rodshild founded the first wine house here? Hundreds of thousands of bottles are produced each year in various parts of the country, from the Mediterranean coast to the Lebanese border via the Golan Heights. During our trip, we still had to evaluate the quality and fun properties of Israeli wine. In pleasant thoughts about this perspective, we always detach ourselves from the hospital cellar and we move to Nazareth.

In this city, it is better to drive on a donkey, or at least on a scooter. But not in a big tourist bus. The narrow, winding streets in the hills do not seem to have changed in the last few centuries. Therefore, the modern autotrain of Nazareth now resembles a Brownian movement of molecules rather than an orderly process. The cacophony of car horns always in a hurry completes the feeling that you are somewhere in the Eastern bazaar. There are more Arabs in Nazareth than in any other city in Israel. Therefore, the endless rows of goods along the narrow streets – the usual picture. Traders, apparently accustomed to a large number of Russian tourists and pilgrims, easily demonstrate the knowledge of Russian.

About travel in israel
Old city surrounded by a very high wall of fortress