Haifa, Israel's third largest city, is the major metropolitan of the north part of Israel with a metro area of 160 square kilometers. It is spread over Mount Carmel and the shores of the Mediterranean, and is the only city in the world to have built skyscrapers on top of a mountainous terrain. Israel's largest seaport is located in Haifa and the city serves as one of the main industrial centers of the country.
The city's ancient history stretches back to 200 B.C, a jewish village of Shikmona. At the onset of the 20th Century, the city's population had grown significantly and by WWI it numbered 20,000 inhabitants, as it became a central port for regional oil routes and industy. By 1944, it had grown by myriads to 128,000 inhabitants, which set Haifa's destiny as one of future Israel's most important cities. By the 1980s the city had lost some of its industrial importance, side by side with the development of new high tech parks, one of which is Israel's largest to date.
Haifa is the Bahai religion's universal center and home to Shrine of the Báb and Gardens, one of the world's most noted works of landscape architecture, which have become a beautiful landmark of the city. Alongside Israel's largest High-tech zone, Matam, Haifa has two major academic institutions - Haifa University (Eshkol Tower) and the Technion, Israel's first academic institution, and still one of the nation's most prestigious. The worlds shortest and Israel's only underground railroad, the Carmelit, is located in the city.