TheDruze village of Isfiya is located on the top of the Carmel Mountain commanding a panoramic view of the surrounding green hills. The village has a rich tradition of openness, hospitality, and warmth that is characteristic of the Druze community. Its special location and rich ethnic tradition and culture have proved especially attractive for travelers and tourists.
Isfiya was first established during the 17th and 18th century by Druze from the mountains of Lebanon. They were later joined by several Egyptian families, and in 2003 the village was merged with the neighboring Druze village of Daliat El Carmel. The two unified villages are known today as Ir Carmel.
The village has opened itself to tourists, while at the same time preserving its traditional Druze life style. The Druze are well-known for their warm hospitality and receive guests with smiling enthusiasm. The Isfiya residents are no exception, and welcome visitors into their homes, where they can get a close glimpse of Druze religious customs and traditions.
Visitors can walk through the narrow streets of the village and wander through the picturesque alleyways on their own, but it is recommended to go with a guide, who will add to your visit by showing you around and telling you interesting stories about the community. In the center of the village are several old buildings built in the style characteristic of northern Israel and southern Lebanon. There is also an olive press in the impressive ancient quarter where visitors can learn about the process of making olive oil and make oil candles.
The main street of the village has a lively bazaar filled with a variety of colorful shops. Nearby restaurants serve guests spicy ethnic foods. The colorful market is filled with visitors on Shabbat and is a noisy, festive place filled with exotic aromas and colors.
Visitors who wish to learn about the Druze culture from close up can lodge in an authentic Druze home or in guesthouses run by the local residents. Guests can enjoy traditional foods, listen to stories, and watch special performances of traditional music, song and dance. Those who would like to have a religious experience can visit the Druze house of prayer, the mosque, or in the Catholic-Maronite Church.
The western entrance to Isfiya has a beautiful promenade overlooking the view. Isfiya is a good departure point for nature walks in the Carmel Mountains nearby.