Werner Braun

Carmel at sunset. The caves of Mount Carmel—such as those that pierce these cliffs near Zichron Ya’akov, 19 miles south of Haifa—provided humans with refuge from the elements as long as 150,000 years ago. Today the Carmel mountains give people another kind of refuge—an escape from the city—in the natural beauty of its forests. Israel’s largest national park still preserves much of what Isaiah called the “splendor of Carmel” (Isaiah 35:2).

The northwestern extension of the Samaria highlands, the Carmel range encompasses a roughly triangular area with its apex at Haifa. The Carmel presented an imposing barrier to travel in ancient times, because only two routes provided a feasible passage through the range. In the accompanying article, Oded Borowski shows how nature shaped Carmel and how Carmel shaped history.