Haifa is Israel’s jewel on the north, gorgeously set on the slopes of Mount Carmel with breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea. While Haifa is famous for the magnificent Baha’i Shrine and its terraced gardens, this beautiful city also has hidden gems that only await discovery.
And the streets of Haifa will lead you to some interesting hidden gems. Yefe Nof Street is a curved street located high above the city, passing behind hotels and offering heart-stopping views of the Baha’i Gardens, downtown Haifa, and the Bay of Haifa. On good, clear weather, one can view Acre, Rosh HaNikra, and even Lebanon. The street rises 272 meters (892 feet) above sea level.
Yefe Nof Street is a south-facing street. It starts with the beginning of HaNassi Avenue and goes a right-angle turn before ending at Rotary Square. Parallel to HaNassi Avenue lies the main artery of central Carmel. For most of the Yefe Nof’s length, it runs along the slopes of Mount Carmel for over two kilometers (1.24 miles). Yefe Nof Street is one of Haifa’s main attractions.
Yefe Nof Street literally means “Beautiful Landscape Street.” The origin of the name seems obvious given the exceptional view of downtown Haifa, Haifa Bay, and its vicinity especially on a good, clear day. It is also known as “Panorama Street.
Attractions, landmarks, and other places of interest along Yefe Nof Street
Yefe Nof Street leads you through the stunning 19 terraces of the Baha’i Gardens. The terraces descend in 19 successive steps from the top of Mount Carmel’s heights down to Ben Gurion Boulevard (Sderot Ben Gurion) in the German Colony. The famously symmetrical gardens surround the golden-domed Baha’i Shrine, a mausoleum of the Bab, the founder of Babism and precursor to Bahaism. Read more about the beautiful Baha’i Gardens.
The street also leads you through the Louis Promenade, one of the loveliest places to walk, sit, relax, and see in all of Haifa. It’s on top of the Baha’i Gardens, not too far away from the point where the tours of the gardens actually begin.
The 400-meter promenade, built in 1992, has observation decks and a small ornamental pool under the trees. And of course, there are also benches for those who need to rest their weary feet.
Located at Yefe Nof Street 89, the Mané-Katz Museum opened in 1977 in the old home where the artist Emmanuel Mané-Katz (1894 – 1962) resided. He is known for his paintings depicting life in the shtetl – historically, a Jewish town in Central and Eastern Europe. Born in Kremenchuk, Ukraine, Mané-Katz was one of the eminent painters in the School of Paris, whose adherents also included Marc Chagall and Pablo Picasso.
Mané-Katz visited and stayed in Mandatory Palestine for the first time in 1928 and thereafter made visits to Palestine and then Israel each year. He eventually settled in Haifa in 1958.
The then-mayor of Haifa, Abba Hushi, provided Mané-Katz a building to house his works. It occurred four years before the latter’s death in 1962. That building became the Mané-Katz Museum.
Fans of Mané-Katz’s works, artists, and art connoisseurs can visit the museum and see the exhibits that illustrate the progressive change in his style over the years. In addition to Mané-Katz’s own paintings, the museum displays his considerable collection of Jewish ritual objects.
Since August 2010, the Mané-Katz Museum has been affiliated with the Union of Museums in Haifa; in November of the same year, the museum received a grant from the municipality of Haifa for renovation work. After four months, the museum re-opened in April 2011.
Yefe Nof Garden
The Yefe Nof Garden is a small garden, not visited by too many people but worth stopping by. Hidden from the street by the trees are the two monuments commemorating events that took place at the site before the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.
- The Kaiser’s Pyramid – This small monument was erected to commemorate the visit of Emperor Wilhelm II (Kaiser Wilhelm II), the last emperor of Germany, and his wife Augusta-Victoria to Haifa in 1898.
- The monument commemorating the liberation of Palestine from the Ottomans in 1918 – At the start of World War I, the entire Bay of Haifa was blockaded and mined by the Turks. While Haifa did not suffer significant destruction during the war, the blockade ended all economic and commercial activities, leading to a great famine in the northern region. The British troops eventually engaged in a battle to conquer Haifa. It lasted two days, causing little destruction and relatively few deaths. On September 23, 1918, the city was invaded by the Indian lancers and passed under British control.
In 1982, the municipality added an old Turkish cannon to the site, beside Kaiser’s Pyramid. The cannon had previously been in the Memorial Garden complex of the Haifa City Hall.
There’s also a bronze plaque, engraved with English and Hebrew texts, which explains the reason for the two monuments’ existence:
- Annals of Haifa
- The Visit of Wilhelm II, Emperor of Germany
- End of 402 Years of Power of the Turkish Empire in Haifa
One of the first houses built on the crest of Mount Carmel is Nof Hanna, which was built in the early 1900s. Between 1922 and 1931, the building was leased to the Herzilya Hotel. It was also called Pension Beit Teitsch.
At the time, Nof Hanna was regarded as one of the most luxurious hotels in Haifa. In 1936, the building was occupied by the British army. In 1948, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) moved there.
In 2005, Alon Global Inc. purchased the historic building from the builder Moshe Alon, who later renovated the structure and added a luxury apartment next to it. He named it Nof Hanna in memory of his mother. The building’s renovation was completed in 2010, and its inauguration was led by then-mayor Yona Yahav.