Haifa, built on the slope of Mount Carmel overlooking the Mediterranean, has all the beauties and the maritime industrial operations that go with life in a seaport city. The famed terraced Baha’i Gardens run down Mount Carmel into the downtown: a long, impeccable carpet of green and gold forming a magnificent centerpiece for the bustling metropolis. The gardens lead to the Baha’i Universal House of Justice—the central seat of the governing body for this deeply peaceful monotheist faith, whose followers believe in unity of religion, unity of humanity, and unity in diversity. In the distance, by the water, the chug of bending marine cranes gives a regular rhythm to the cityscape.
Haifa has long been known as a place of relative harmony among its Jewish,
Muslim, and Christian residents; the heterogeneous mix also incorporates a large group
of Russian immigrants and a core group of Baha’i. As elsewhere in Israel, the varied demographic makes for interesting culinary possibilities. Haifa is also an increasingly young city: the cafés, nightclubs, pubs, and restaurants are filled with so many young hipsters that a new term has recently been coined: “Haifsters.” This group brings a taste for innovation to the city’s food scene.