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Mount Carmel, derived from the Hebrew “Kerem-El” (or vineyards of God), is the mountain which Haifa is built upon and next to, as well as the location of the Baha’i Gardens.

That short introduction finished, we drove into Haifa on Friday and spent a good part of the afternoon there after our time at Akko. First of all, we went part of the way up the hill for the first of several scenic overlooks of Haifa and the bay, and the view was simply amazing. In the far distance, we could see the neighborhood where Eti’s house is located, across the bay. Driving onwards to the next location, we first got out and went to a restaurant located on the edge of the overlook, and this time were able to see down into the Haifa soccer stadium (as pictured below).

We went closer to the middle of the mountain, and walked into the Carmelite Monastery for a time. Therein, the walls, stained glass, doors, and fresco on the dome all featured the prophet Elijah, usually mounted in his chariot of fire. The monastery was constructed there because the top of Mount Carmel is the traditional location of Elijah’s battle with 450 priests of Ba’al (which is deceptive, because “Ba’al” refers to ‘Lord’ or ‘Master.’ In reality, scholars conjecture the pagan god in mind was Melqart), where they each constructed an altar to their god. The altar of Ba’al never caught aflame, whereas Elijah soaked the wood on his altar to Yah’weh in water, and then prayed to God. At this point, the story tells us, the entire altar burst into a raging inferno, clearly proving the superiority of Yah’weh.

After enjoying the beautiful church, we drove the rest of the way up the hill, to the top of the Baha’i Gardens (so go check that post out).

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