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- Haifa (Hebrew: Ã—Â—Ã–ÂµÃ—Â™Ã—Â¤Ã–Â¸Ã—Â”Ã¢Â€ÂŽÃ¢Â€ÂŽ Ã¡Â¸Â¤efaÃ¢Â€Â¯, Hebrew pronunciation:Â [ÃÂ‡eiÃ‹Âˆfa]; Arabic: Ã˜ÂÃ™ÂŠÃ™ÂÃ˜Â§Ã¢Â€ÂŽ Ã¡Â¸Â¤ayfÃ„ÂÃ¢Â€Â¯) is the largest city in northern Israel, and the third-largest city in the country, with a population of over 268,000. Another 300,000 people live in towns directly adjacent to the city including the cities of the Krayot, as well as, Tirat Carmel, Daliyat al-Karmel, some Kibuzim and Nesher. Together these areas form a contiguous urban area home to nearly 600,000 residents which makes up the inner core of the Haifa metropolitan area. Haifa is a mixed city: 90% are Jews, more than a quarter of whom are immigrants from the former Soviet Union, while 10% are Arabs, predominantly of the Christian religion. It is also home to the BahÃƒÂ¡'ÃƒÂ World Centre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built on the slopes of Mount Carmel, the history of settlement at the site spans 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 (14th century BCE). In the 3rd century CE, Haifa was known as a dye-making center. Over the centuries, the city has changed hands: It has been conquered and ruled by the Phoenicians, Persians, Hasmoneans, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Crusaders, Ottomans, British, and the Israelis. Since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, the city has been governed by the Haifa Municipality.