Haifa is the largest city in northern Israel, and the third largest city in the country, with a population of around 280,000. It is also home to the Bahá'í World Centre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and destination for Baha'i pilgrims.
Built on the slopes of Mount Carmel, the history of settlement at the site spans more than 3,000 years. Today,the city is a major seaport located onIsrael's Mediterranean coastline in the Bay of Haifa covering 63.7 square kilometers. Two respected academic institutions, the University of Haifa and the Technion, are located inHaifa. The city plays an important role in Israel's economy. The industrial region ofHaifais in the eastern part of the city,around theKishonRiver. It is home to theHaifaoil refinery, one of the two oil refineries inIsrael. Matam, the largest and oldest business park in Israel, is at the southern entrance to the city, hosting manufacturing and R&D facilities for a large number of Israeli and international hi-tech companies, such as Intel, IBM, Microsoft, Motorola, Google, Yahoo!, Elbit, CSR, Philips, and Amdocs.HaifaBayis a center of heavy industry, petroleum refining and chemical processing. ThePortofHaifais the leader in passengertraffic among Israeli ports, and is also a major cargo harbor.
In September 2012,Haifaand Shenzhen officially established sister-city relationship.