Haifa is the third-largest city in Israel – after Jerusalem and Tel Aviv– with a population of 279,591 in 2016. The city of Haifa forms part of the Haifa metropolitan area, the second- or third-most populous metropolitan area in Israel. It is home to the Bahá'í World Centre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a destination for Bahá'í pilgrims.
Built on the slopes of Mount Carmel, the settlement has a history spanning more than 3,000 years. The earliest known settlement in the vicinity was Tell Abu Hawam, a small port city established in the Late Bronze Age. In the 3rd century CE, Haifa was known as a dye-making center. Over the millennia, the city has changed hands: being conquered and ruled by the Israelites, Phoenicians, Persians, Hasmoneans, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Crusaders, Ottomans, British, and the Israelis. Since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, the Haifa Municipality has governed the city.
As of 2016, the city is a major seaport located on Israel's Mediterranean coastline in the Bay of Haifa covering 63.7 square kilometres. It lies about 90 kilometres north of Tel Aviv and is the major regional center of northern Israel.