16 November 2022
Haifa, a bustling intercultural city, lies on the northwest Mediterranean coast of Israel.
Located in the heart of the hot, bustling city, the hanging gardens of Haifa climb the precariously steep slopes of Mount Carmel with 19 elegant & colourful terraces.
While the lower gardens and first viewing platform are free and easy to visit, you will require a guide in order to access the upper terraces. Even from here though, the gardens offer panoramic views of the city all the way down to the ocean.
Today, we docked alongside at the very industrial and not so pleasant Haifa container terminal. From here, it is a short 10 minute shuttle to Unesco Square on Sderot Ben Gurion.
It is here that you will find the rather discrete entrance to the hanging gardens, also known as the Baháʼí holy gardens, named after the religious faith that they belong to.
As you peer toward the summit of this imposing mountain slope, your eyes are guided by sharp, narrowing columns of clean white granite & marble until they fix upon the golden dome of the shrine of the Báb.
Back down the steep hill road of Sderot Ben Gurion you can find plenty of modern restuarants' and bars, many offering stylish al fresco dining in their own exotic green gardens.
The familiar name on everyone's lips is 'Fatoush', which coincidentally also appears to be the busiest restaurant on the street. Packed with locals both inside and out, the offering here is described as 'modern Arabic dishes with an elegant Mediterranean touch'.
We opt for the lesser known, but no less aesthetic 'Garden' restaurant. Inside, hanging baskets and floral displays hang from the awnings. Tall, glass windows open outwards to catch the breeze. Natural light floods in, creating the sense of sitting in a large, living orangery.
I order a short espresso and a refreshing Limonana cooler. Warm & bitter, followed by cold & sweet. Just enough caffeine-sugar ratio to perk me up before I have to once again take on the chaotic rush of downtown Haifa.
Finally it is time to head back to work. Having only spent 3 hours in Haifa, I know i am barely scratching the surface...