Haifa, Israel - Stein Travel
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Haifa

The largest city in northern Israel, Haifa is an attractive seaport and one of the most culturally mixed and cosmopolitan cities in the country. The Israeli saying 'Haifa works, Jerusalem prays, Tel Aviv plays' gestures toward the city's blue-collar roots - however, in the 1950s a concerted effort was made to make Haifa more culturally sophisticated, with the Haifa Theatre, the Krieger Centre for Performing Arts and the Ein Hod artists' colony being established. Haifa also hosts an annual (and well-attended) International Film Festival, and the Haifa Rock and Blues Festival, which has attracted performers of genuine calibre over the years (such as Bob Dylan, Nick Cave and PJ Harvey, to name a few). The majority of visitors to Haifa go there for the amazing gardens of the Baha'í World Centre (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), although there are numerous other excellent sights in Haifa, including a wealth of museums, gorgeous temples and mosques, and sunny, child-friendly beaches. For those fascinated with biblical history, Tel Megiddo ('Armageddon' in Ancient Greek) - the supposed site of the end of the world - is located about 20 miles (32km) southwest of Haifa.

Information & Facts

Language

Hebrew and Arabic are the official languages of Israel. Most of the population also speak English.

Money

The Israeli Shekel (ILS) is divided into 100 agorot (singular is agora). Money can be changed in the small exchange bureaux found on most main streets, or at banks and hotels. ATMs are prevalent throughout the country and linked to American systems. Most banks are open Sunday through to Friday until noon, and are open again from 4pm till 6pm on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Major credit cards are widely accepted, as are travellers cheques, though commission on these is high.

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