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Nordau Street, the first pedestrian street in the city of Haifa • Yossi Lubalski

The incarnation of a passage that mixed entertainment and leisure was copied into concrete complexes with closed and air-conditioned floors and escalators - the malls.

A variety of architectural construction styles were built on Nordau Street from the 30s.

The eclectic and international "Bauhaus" style. For decades the street has been lively and has been a center for shopping and entertainment. It housed many shops, and cloth and textile shops as well as goldsmiths and jewelers stood out. Old cafes also operated there, including "Vienna", "Sternheim", "Cafe Ritz" and "Cafe Jordan". It also housed offices and clinics.

Then the construction of the Carmel and the transition to office buildings began.

At the end of the 50s, when office buildings began to be developed in other parts of the city and the opening of the Carmelite in 1959, the street first experienced a decrease in commerce. The Prophets Street, which is located about a kilometer west of Nordau Street, has become more central. In response to this, a committee of merchants was established in cooperation with the municipality for the development of the street in order to create activities and entertainment activities and events to attract the public, including the extension of trading activity hours, which restored and somewhat restored the life of the street.


In the 80s, following demographic changes that took place in the Hadar Carmel neighborhood, the street and other nearby streets began to decline again. Many established residents of the neighborhood abandoned it for Ramat Hadar and Carmel and took with them the culture of leisure consumption and shopping, which lowered the street's horn. In response, Mayor Aryeh Gural initiated the transformation of Nordau Street into a pedestrian street. Initially it was a success and the restaurants and cafes were allowed to operate on Shabbat, but after a protest by religious residents the businesses were forbidden to take chairs and tables out into the street on Shabbat. In the first years the pedestrian street was bustling with cultural events, Purim celebrations and festivals for children's plays sponsored by the municipality.

In the 90s, the model of building shopping malls and accepting immigrants from the Commonwealth of Nations came to Israel.

In the mid-90s of the last century, a large part of the businesses and shops that operated there closed and moved to the new malls that were built during the "Haifa Mall" and the "Grand Mall" and shopping complexes in the Gulf area. During these years of the 90s, a wave of immigration from the CIS countries began and many immigrants lived in the Hadar neighborhood and brought with them a culture of consumption and leisure that were almost exclusive to the immigrant populations. The old buyers who were more established and used to a different consumption culture began to shop elsewhere and consume in the shopping malls. Over time, young immigrant families left the neighborhood following the transition in search of jobs far from the surroundings and buildings with spacious and large residential apartments and adjacent parking lots that are close to gardens, schools and essential centers that they did not have, and as a result, the older population who were afraid to stay in the area also left.

Their place was taken by populations of low socio-economic status and foreign workers. These changes and other urban processes dealt a fatal blow to the pedestrian street.

urban renewal

Since 2012, the Haifa Municipality has established a public administration for the renewal of the Nordau pedestrian street. Beside it, the "MKS Group" works as a volunteer, planners, community, environment, and its name commemorates the first name of Max Nordau, after whom the street is named. The community includes planners and cultural figures who live or work in the Hadar neighborhood. The directorate deals with all aspects of urban renewal, restoration and renovation of buildings and initiation of cultural and art events and street festivals.

return the crown to its former glory

Today, the remnants and stories of the Dutch Passage pedestrian street remain, which is combined with a route for cars in the center and parking spaces on the sides due to constraints and the growth of the population and the use of private transportation. There are still a limited number of shops that continue to operate there, such as Robin Tourism. Those who want to reminisce about confectioneries and coffee shops will go to the end of the street towards Arlozorov where they will stop at Libel Confectionery, founded in 1969, which preserves the tradition of European desserts, cakes and pastries.

Many natives of Haifa who pass by on the street, each time their hearts are saddened anew by the loss of the beauty, majesty, splendor and colors that have been lost over the years.

Nordau Street Haifa, markers on paper, 21/29.7 cm, painting: Yossi Lubalski

Painting as a medium for discourse and culture

I tried through the painting with the medium of the colored markers to give a new and optimistic air and expression to the place.
I have every hope that the elected mayor and the team that works with him will include in the agenda the restoration of the pedestrian street with a new mix and ideas that will return the Atara to its former glory as it already exists and is successful on Sarkin Street near the Talpiot Market thanks to the cooperation and encouragement of private projects through incentives and facilitation for businesses.

Contact Chai here: At watsapBy email

Yossi Lubalski
Yossi Lubalski
Israeli painter, a resident of Haifa, a graduate of the School of Architecture. He teaches painting and paints the city of Haifa and the landscapes of the valley. The paintings can be purchased. 054-5745404 | [email protected]

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21 תגובות

  1. Instead of there being development since then, we went backwards...everything was neglected...and what a shame...
    There is no city center in Haifa...or streets (not even one) that deserve to be interesting or fun to go for a walk and wander through as there are in every corner in dozens of places in Tel Aviv....there has not yet been a mayor who leveraged this potential city....and certainly Yona Yahav did not do this In the past when he was younger, he won't do it now…..

  2. Nordau Street was a charming place until before the Russian immigration came to it. It must be said clearly. Due to the cheap prices, a large Russian population with criminal characteristics settled there. Brothels were opened. Drunks and criminals turned the street into a bad place that drove away the old population. Apartments became gambling places. A lot of drugs, crime and the place completely changed its face. The municipality did not intervene and the police were not there. The street was occupied and turned into Russia. The businesses that were there before an old Israeli population used to come to do shopping and sit in the cafes such as the lovely legendary Ritz. They became places with a Russian character. who deported the Israeli population. The street became dangerous and ugly. The old businesses closed and the street died. Since then, all attempts to revive the street and bring back the good old character have failed. The Russian population eventually rose up and got stronger and some of them moved from there to other places in the city and dispersed.
    Those who remain there are the weakest. By the way, this is the case in all Hadar. And the concentration of weak populations in one place creates a problem. It's a closed circle that's hard to break out of. So Hadar lost her exclusion.

  3. Nordau Street (like all the streets above it) remains in my memory as the street where the teacher Miriam Salzman lived in Nordau M. 1, a model figure of an educator with a height above the norm, and a very quiet voice. She never raised a voice even when the most disturbed students, the Moroccans who had just arrived in Israel, threw chairs at her and overturned tables. She did not give up on them and even talked to the parents of every such student. And what do you know? 25 years later at a reunion she arrived, already over 90, with the 2 most monstrous students who led her inside with the greatest of respect, and it became clear to me that they had become excellent employees at Rafael, and that their friends for violence and cursing had become nice and calm people, working as bank managers and other respectable professions, and all They reached this only thanks to one teacher, Teacher Salzman, whose only son was killed in the War of Independence.
    It is the people who make the broad, not the street who makes the people, and there are no, no, no such master images today

    • It's a shame that the concept of Moroccans is still used. I was surprised to read between the lines your distaste for the Moroccans who, according to what you wrote, threw away chairs and tables, and then the moment when you point out that it was all thanks to the teacher that they became respectable people, I as a Moroccan think they had the desire to succeed and show the Red Book that they are also equal if they are treated with respect,

    • Absolutely right, no one wants to live with criminals, drug addicts, and dirt. The street is really neglected and smells of polymer dirt

  4. Atara will only be able to return to its former glory if the public transport is improved, it will be more modern and thus the accessibility to the area will be improved. In the past there was the green "Tik Tak" taxi. I used it a lot at popular prices instead of the expensive private car and there was no need for parking either. Unfortunately, Miri Regev also canceled this and Einat was unable to preserve this great idea.

  5. It is still possible today to revive the Nordau Pedestrian. Simply complete the plan by extending the pedestrian crossing from the other side of Balfour Street to the connection to the Shmariahu Levin-Ahad Ha'am-HaMeshbir intersection.
    In this way, it will be possible to add a long commercial facade at the back of the Foundation House and reveal the Technion Garden to the public.

  6. It is possible and necessary to return Nordau to a pleasant and attractive place, for example art fairs and small cafes and to encourage quality trade and the main thing is to ban signs in foreign languages ​​and closing shops with ugly bars
    As a former Tel Avivite, everything is possible in turning a neglected place into a pleasant and inviting one like South Tel Aviv.

    • I have a restaurant in the Carriage House, the building itself is very neglected, everything in it needs renovation and improvement, there is not even lighting. There were four break-ins to the business at night in two years. There is no help from the municipality. That's why it's very funny that knitting doesn't look good. And as long as there is no personal interest on Nordau Street in the Hadar neighborhood, he will do nothing and nothing

  7. I mean... you believe that what was will be. According to this logic, there is no need for elections. And it is not so. The civil force from below in Haifa is getting stronger. The understanding of the concept of walkability is increasing and in Corona it was understood that every street corner with a tree contributes to the mental and community resilience. There are not and will not be trees in the malls and the variety there is poor. The same stores and the same anchors. What needs to happen is the opposite..encouraging a continuum of walkability and experience but while combining it with attractive and different commerce and open-air cafes and then the value of living will also increase and there will be a change in the population. Talking about the past is not helpful. It's an outburst of anger. I would expect a constructive upload of solutions and ideas.

  8. Nordau Street has descended into prostitution, literally, and drugs too. Y.Y. and Y.S. The mayor and deputy mayor for 15 years is not an issue - because they worked for Ofer, Azrieli and Dankner malls.
    Shakshuka for the tycoons: our people control the municipality, and they will suppress every commercial street in it.
    That's how the mayor and his deputy's goal was the opposite: a declaration-decline to Hadar and the creation of a transportation pipeline for its residents to the malls of Ofer: bus lines to the Grand Canyon, metro lines for the Gulf crossings, the Carmel tunnels between Azrieli, the Grand Canyon and an exit to the Gulf malls. Flooding Hadar with infiltrators and sharers in cheap apartments purchased by the Ministry of Defense and flooding Kiryat Haim with cheap sheltered apartments purchased by his friends such as Prof. Teller's family.
    An octopus of interests that put Haifa in last place and the economic promotion of its friends in the shakshukot in first place. And on this basis Horat will be elected again this time and the results will be disasters on the same scale. This time they managed to bring most of the factions into the walls of the shakshuka - all of them will get some share or economic promotion for themselves from the continued closing of their eyes and the disappearance of the truth about the looting and destruction of Haifa.
    And Nordau Pedestrian?
    Unlike the center of Tel Aviv, Hadar was finished decades ago with the population they brought in.
    She will never recover and in the best case it is possible to maintain a criminal status of only a few murders a month and no more.

  9. My response is that the move of closing the street and turning it into a pedestrian thoroughfare is the one that brought down the street and its shops.. and the other descriptions of the raising of the street of the Prophets are the verb going out to the side.
    From the moment the buses that dropped off many passengers directly to the shops were taken out, the number of visitors was sharply cut. Although for a short time unique restaurants that sprung up like "Fondo" were kind of anchors, but by and large the nature of the shops has also changed, at least they are attractive to the public. Lock and curtain stores. Stationery store. These do not anchor the pedestrian street. And also supposedly the opening of Gan Binyamin during a failed attempt to renew its face contributed to its destruction while destroying its historical appearance. So what's left? Obviously, the direction should be different.. The very permission for vehicles to park in it actually turns the space into a continuous absurdity. The time has come with a new city administration that supports Yona Yahav to rethink the direction that will allow and encourage the establishment of recreation spaces on the street but while opening it up and linking it to the spatial continuum.. to Jerusalem Street above it and its fascinating buildings.. and thus creeping forward and tying even in the direction of Masada above and towards Sirkin below.. and finally come alive the huge abandoned courtyard of the Technodea building and linking all of these to the revival of the Foundation House.
    Indeed a huge vision..but subsidies to reduce property taxes on the one hand and care for revitalizing the Technion Garden and Benjamin Garden at both ends of the street are required as complementary elements.
    It is not enough to describe the street in its demise with pavements that have nothing to do with its history. This was also a colossal design mistake. Refreshing the structure of the city engineer and innovative thinking but based on historical knowledge are the key.

    • Buses brought shoppers to Nordeau when there were no malls and when two-thirds of Haifa's population traveled by public transportation. Y.Y. He made sure that in every shopping mall that was built, hundreds of parking spaces would be set up free of property tax. In doing so, he contributed to the destruction of public transportation, damage to commercial streets, traffic congestion and urban degeneration by destroying commerce that was abused with high property taxes and low maintenance while giving away choppers and taking care of access roads to malls.
      The MKS group and the "Student Village" did not help Hadar because these are young people without means for the most part Hadar is their only choice in terms of housing options and as soon as they establish themselves they either leave, or they give up trying to influence planning and priorities.
      As we saw in "Talpiot Renovation" there was no renovation and the building was not renovated for 7 years. Signs, ceremonies, messages, talks. This is how the Haifa municipality conducts itself with Amnon and the predatory board that clapped and danced for joy that the Shakshuka group is back - they also understand why and we all also understand why. partners in crime.

    • Instead of looking for parking solutions, it is better to improve public transportation that will attract people to use it, such as a light rail, metro to Carmel or any other modern solution and then Atara will return to its former glory. The problem in Israel is that it takes many years and by then the patient will die

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