• Issue: September 1980
  • Designer: 17th century etching
  • Stamp size: 100 x 85 mm
  • Sheet of 2 stamps
  • Printers: E. Lewin-Epstein Ltd.
  • Method of printing: Photolithography

Haifa, Israel's main port and third largest city, with 260,000 inhabitants, lies on the southern curve of Haifa Bay. Beautifully situated, the harbour town combines the special fascination of ocean going boats and the broad expanse of sea and of green hills, as well as the spectacle of the unique , gold domed Bahai Temple set in trim Persian gardens.

Along the low ground edging the bay is the commercial heart of Haifa where the railway rims, where there are factories, depots, oil storage and refineries and the country s chief silo. In the harbour, ships of all sizes and of many nations ride at anchor, while close at hand are the workshops, warehouses and ships' chandlers, ready to outfit any boat with goods ranging from the smallest to the largest items. Shops supply every requirement, and crowds of shoppers throng the busy streets.

Ascending the pine shaded Carmel slopes is Hadar Hacarmel with light industries, business centres and residential quarters, while higher up is the Haifa Technion and the university, as well as many hotels and restaurants and districts with luxurious villas Much of the summit of Mount Carmel, which rises to 550 meters above sea level, is thickly wooded and carpeted with yellow gorse, sweet-scented shrubs and colourful wild flowers.

Haifa's history delves far back into the past. In Shikmona, directly south of the city, continuous settlements dating from the Late Bronze Age about 1500 BCE have been unearthed, while in the modern suburb of Bat Galim to the north, traces of equally early habitation were found The first settlers were sailors, fishermen and 5hiphiiildors who also introduced the production of the much prized purple dye derived from the murex snail found locally.

With the incursion of the Children of Israel into the Promised Land, Jews made their homes in Shikinona and learnt the crafts of tile indigenous people. Although Haifa proper began to develop only after the Roman conquest of Jerusalem in 70 CE, in the suburb of Rushmiya are massive remains of the Hasmonean era of the first century BCE. During Talmudic times Haifa became a centre for Jewish learning, and the home of many scholars and sages, while continuing its tradition of seamanship and other skills.

The year 614 saw the conquest of Haifa by the Persians, who ruled only until the return of the Byzantines in 628. Soon afterwards - in 636 - came the Arab invasion, and the city was under Moslem sovereignty for about 500 years, with Jews and Moslem.' living amicably together.

Haifa was destroyed and its Jewish defenders slaughtered by the Crusaders in 1100. Renamed Cayphas, it became a Crusader stronghold until 1 265, when taken by Mameluke sultan, Beybars, then it declined into an insignificant townlet until Bedouin sheikh Daher el-Amer, governor of Galillee, encouraged its revival in the mid 1700's, Surviving Napoleon's abortive attack of 1799 and the 1831 to 1840 occupation by Egyptian Ibrahim Pasha, Haifa began its modern history.

Sea traffic slowly increased, harbour facilities were improved; roads were built, and when eventually the railway reached Haifa in 1905 there was a firm basis for a prosperous future. In fact, Herzl's "Altneuland", published at tile turn of this century, stressed Haifa's position in his projected Jewish State as one of the utmost importance.

The transfer of power from the Ottoman Empire to the British at the close of World War I, when Haifa's citizens numbered 20,000, with 15% Jews, gave extra impetus to Haifa's progress, and so did the 1948 War of Independence. Its population quickly rose from tinder 100,000 in 1948 to the present 260,000, which includes some 1 3,000 Christians, Druse, Moslems and members of tile Bahai faith. Today the town is flourishing, has excellent sea and road connections, well-developed industries, louses and educational institutions of which any city might be proud.

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"Haifa 80" national stamp exhibition