A short account of Mt. Carmel, given by your Israel & Jerusalem private tour guide
Mt. Carmel is a 24-mile-long ridge, beginning at the mountains of Samaria, and stretching northwest all the way to the city of Haifa, where it ends in the Mediterranean. Usually, we refer only to the northern 12 miles of it, between Yokne’am and Haifa.
Regarding the mountain, the most important periods for us are:
- The Paleolithic periods during the last 600,000 years, showing human activity and remains from Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens hominids in caves on the western slopes of the mountain.
- The biblical time – events connected with the prophets Elijah, Elisha and Amos. Their activities in the mountain caused it to be dedicated as a holy mountain for Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
- The Crusader period (12th-13th centuries), in which the Carmelite Order was formed and settled on the mountain, mainly in their monastery, Stella Maris (now in Haifa).
- In the 17th century the Druze villages Daliat El Carmel and Usfia were built on the mountain.
- In the 19th century, the Carmelite Order built its other monastery dedicated to Elijah’s fight against the false prophets, and given the Arabic name, Muhraka (the burning).
- The 20th century sees another religion, the Bahai, settling on the mountain, along with the pacifist Islamic sect Ahmadia in the village of Cababir.
Sites to visit (outside of Haifa)
- Muhraka Monastery – a wonderful place to see the view of the Jezreel Valley, and hear the story of Elijah.
- The Druze villages offer you the opportunity to learn about the Druze heritage and enjoy their food and shopping.
- Beautiful hiking trails on all sides of the mountain.
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