The Carmelit is an underground funicular railway in Haifa. It opened in 1959, and reopened in September 1992 after extensive renovations. It is the only subway in Israel and one of the smallest subway system in the world.
The idea for a public transport system in the city of Haifa was first mentioned in Theodor Herzl's visionary book Altneuland. When Herzl visited Haifa in the 1890's, it was still in its infancy, having started out as a fishermen's village on the beach. Yet, in his novel, Herzl described Haifa as a vibrant port city complete with a train-system whose wagons - moving among the tree tops high above the ground - were pulled by a cable.
The altitude difference between the first and last stations is 274 meters. Carmelit cars have a slanted design, with steps within each car and on the station platform. Since the gradient varies along the route, the floor of each car is never quite level, and slopes slightly "uphill" or "downhill" depending on the location.
The Carmelit is one of the smallest subways in the world, having only four cars, six stations and a single tunnel 1800 meters long. The four cars operate as two two-car trains, which run on single track with a short double-track section to allow trains to cross.
The Carmelit has six stations, going downhill:
- Gan Ha'em ("The Mother's Garden"): in the Carmel Center neighborhood, adjacent to the Haifa zoo, the Venue - the Haifa Auditorium, and the nearby hotels - the Panorama, Nof and Crown Plaza hotels.
- Bnei Zion ("The Sons of Zion" - named after the nearby Bnei Zion Hospital. The station was previously called "Golomb" - after the street on which it is located. The name was changed in 1992): in Eliyahu Golomb street, near the Bnei Zion (Rothschild) hospital and the Bahá'í World Centre.
- Massada, upper Hadar Hacarmel: near Massada and Nordau streets, with their galleries, antique shops, cafes and restaurants. Close to the Israeli National Air, Space and Technology Museum.
- Hanevi'im ("The Prophets (street)"), Hadar: Near Hanevi'im, Herzl and Hachalutz streets, and their shops and offices. Close to the Haifa museum.
- Solel Boneh: near Hanevi'im tower, Ha'atzmaut park, and Haifa city hall.
- Kikar Pariz (Paris Square), Downtown: near government building and courthouse, Ha'atzmaut Street, walking distance to Haifa Merkaz (central) train station.
- Sunday - Thursday: 06:00 - 22:00
- Friday and holiday eves: 06:00 - 15:00
- Saturday: Closed (for Shabbat)
About 6 shekels per ride ($1.60; Euro 1.2).
Information for Attendees
Attendees who reach Haifa from the airport may use the Carmelit to reach the venue and the hotels. Please note that the Carmelit does not operate on Friday afternoon and on Saturday.
How to reach the Carmelit from the Haifa Merkaz Train Station
Cross the street from the station and turn left. Walk about 500 meters along HaAtzmaut Rd. and turn right on Eliyahu St. Walk about 90 meters - the underground (Carmelit) Kikar Pariz station will be in front of you.
Which Station do I get on?
The first station - Kikar Pariz, is close to the Haifa Merkaz Train Station.
Where do I get off?
The last station - the Gan Ha'em Station is close to the venue and the Dan Panorama, Nof and Crown Plaza hotels.