The Carmel Range, often referred to simply as "Mount Carmel" (though this more properly refers to the hills immediately above Haifa), is a compact region of hills in Israel extending westwards from the Central Hill country to the Mediterranean Sea. Dividing the Coastal Plain from the Jezreel Valley, the Carmel Range retains its own unique landscape and culture - the hills, in particular, are home to a number of Druze villages, the focus of most travellers' visits to the region. The Carmel Range also preserves a number of Jewish and Arab sites of cultural and historical interest to the traveller.
Although hardly qualifying as "cities", the settlements of the Carmel Range are nonetheless fascinating:
- Daliyat el-Carmel - the largest and southernmost Druze town in Israel, located in the heart of the Carmel National Park, southeast of Haifa. Established 400 years ago, Daliyat el-Carmel has a population of 13,000 Druze residents, tracing their ancestry to the hill country near Aleppo (Halab) in northern Syria (reflected in their strong Aleppo accent and the name of the largest family in the village - Halabi). A large market in the center of the town sells traditional Druze and Arab products and draws tourists from Israel and from abroad. A memorial center for fallen Druze IDF soldiers also exists in the town. The shrine of Abu Ibrahim is located in Daliyat el-Carmel, and the ruins of several Druze villages are located in the vicinity.
- Isfiya - built on the ruins of a Byzantine settlement, the village's many Crusader ornaments and relics found on the walls and in the houses lead historians to believe that the village was once a Crusader center. The remains of the fifth-century Jewish settlement of Husifah were unearthed in the village in 1930 and include a synagogue with a mosaic floor bearing Jewish symbols and the inscription "Peace upon Israel". Some 4,500 gold coins dating from the Roman Period were also found. The modern village was founded in the early 18th century, when residents made their living from the olive oil, honey and the excellent grapes growing in the region. Some 9,000 people live today in Isfiya: 70% Druze, the rest Christians and Muslims. The tomb of Abu Abdallah is located here.
- Mount Carmel National Park
The Carmel Range makes a great way-station for visits to Haifa, Israel's 3rd largest city, and to destinations in the Jezreel Valley and further north.