Mount Carmel
The Site of Elijah's Victory

As you approach Haifa Israel from the South you can see the ranges of Mount Carmel rising until you have in front of you Israel’s largest National Park the Har HaCarmel.

As soon as you pass Zichron Yaacov coming from the south the view is awe inspiring.

On the left you have the Mediterranean Sea and on you right the majestic range of the Carmel.

Revolutionary Tunnels under Mt Carmel
Once you had to travel through the city of Haifa to go from south to north

Har HaCarmel National Park

This National Park, Israel’s highest is about 10,000 hectares (24,700 acres) of eucalyptus, pine and cypress forests.

The park has as many as 250 caves that show that this area was inhabited by prehistoric humans as far as 100,000 years ago. The area has been kept to study and preserve the Mediterranean Habitat already existing here.

There are bicycle and hiking paths and of course restaurants, restrooms, playgrounds and picnic areas for the benefit of the visitors.

There is also a Druze Hospitality Center offering tea and sweet breads. Admission to the nature reserve is about NIS 20 equivalents to $5.00.

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The World famous Bahai Gardens on Mount Carmel overlooking Haifa

Religious Traditions

Mount Carmel is important to many religions. Jews, Christians, Muslims, Druze and Bahai have sanctified its sites each one in his way.

  • Bahai Faith
    This is another religion that considers the Carmel sacred. They built their Bahai Gardens on the slopes of the mount facing the city of Haifa. This is one of the most beautiful gardens I have ever seen.

  • The Victory of Prophet Elijah
    This is the site of the Lord’s Victory over the Prophets of Baal. When fire came down from heaven and consumed the sacrifice altar and even the water, Elijah had the prophets of Baal killed at the Kishon.

  • Druze Community
    Two important Druze Villages are located on Mount Carmel. The Druze, as known have the greatest relationship with the Jews of Israel and some occupy high positions in the army and governments of Israel
  • Carmelites
    Following the legend of the Prophet Elijah several Catholic denominations consider the area of Mt Carmel an important site for them.

    One of them is the Carmelites which originated in England around the 12th Century and acquires the name based on the Carmel Range.

    They arrived as Crusaders and settled on top of Mt Carmel where they built a monastery on the ruins of the dwelling place of Elijah. The Carmelite Monastery is open to the public on a year round basis.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church at the Carmelite Monastery

Cities and villages

The most important city of Mt Carmel is Haifa occupying the northern part of the range. This is third largest city of Israel. This is a city that exemplifies the coexistence of Arabs and Jews in harmony in one city.

On the east the city of Yokneam, which in my times on the army was a little village today is a center of High-tech. Zichron Yaacov on the southern slope is a must visit. The city has been kept beautiful over the years. You can visit it while going to Haifa at the beginning of the Carmel Range.

Nahal Oren is a fresh spring flowing through Mt Carmel

Druze Villages

You’ll find in the Carmel towns like the Druze town of Carmel City in the center of the ridge. Also towns like Nesher and Tirat Hacarmel. A place to visit is Kibbutz Beit Oren on the highest point of the range.

In a visit to Israel you will see Mount Carmel several times, since it is on the way from the Central area of the country to the north. But they keep building so many new roads that now you don’t have to go through Haifa going north.

But you know what? Haifa and Mt Carmel definitely deserve a visit from any tourist to the Holy land.

Image Credits:
nahal oren by ami ben amram
bahai gardens by deror avi
vie from sfunim by hanay
tunnels by avi shmoul
carmelite church n/a

All courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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