On the Mount Carmel road from Haifa to the nearby Druze village of Daliat-el-Carmel, you'll see the buildings and tower of Haifa University. The campus was originally designed by Oscar Niemeyer, the designer of Brazil's superfuturistic capital city of Brasilia; new sections, planned by other architects, were added later. The university began operation in 1963, under the joint auspices of the City of Haifa and the Hebrew University. At that time, the students numbered 650; now 13,000 full-time degree students attend the university.
The campus offers a magnificent view. From the 30th-floor (top-floor) observatory of the Eshkol Tower, which you can visit on your own Sunday through Thursday from 8am to 3:30pm (free admission), you get an incredible view of practically the entire north of Israel. Throughout the university's public spaces you'll find a surprising number of paintings and sculpture. The large murals located in the university lobby are especially notable.
The campus has several impressive art galleries. The Oscar Ghez Gallery, on the Eshkol Tower's 30th floor, houses a moving memorial collection of works by artists who perished in the Holocaust, compiled by Oscar Ghez over a 30-year period. The University Art Gallery in the main building displays important works by Israeli and foreign artists. The Reuben and Edith Hecht Museum contains a compact but impressive Israeli archaeology collection with rotating exhibitions; there is also a wing devoted to art -- paintings by Impressionists and the Jewish School of Paris. The museum is open Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 10am to 4pm; Tuesday from 10am to 7pm; Friday from 10am to 1pm; and Saturday from 10am to 2pm (free admission). Adjoining the Hecht Museum is the Maagan Michael Ship Museum (open Mon, Wed, and Thurs 10am-2pm; Tues 10am-7pm; free admission), slated to hold the world's oldest vessel, a 2,400-year-old Phoenician-era merchant ship salvaged by university archaeologists off the coast just south of Haifa. To take a free guided tour of the campus; you must call in advance to reserve a spot (tel. 04/824-0097).
The Haifa University Students Association sponsors many activities throughout the academic year. Call the Students Association (tel. 04/824-0544) for information. There is also a Hillel House (tel. 04/824-0762) with a full schedule of activities.
- © Frommer's 2013