Zichron Ya'akov, which literally means "Jacob's memorial", is a serene, hilltop community on the southern hills of the Carmel mountains, overlooking the Mediterranean, roughly 35 kilometers south of Haifa. To get to Zichron, from the coastal highway, you drive up green, forested slopes. Once you are at the top, there are breathtaking views, looking to the sea over the fish ponds of Kibbutz Ma'ayan Zviking.
One of the first Jewish settlements in the country, Zichron Ya'akov was established by Baron Edmond de Rothschild and named in honor of his father Yaakov (James). It is the home of "Carmel" and other wineries, where the grapes that grow in the vicinity produce the wine sold throughout the country and the world. Its altitude, proximity to the coast and natural beauty has made it a popular vacation area.
In 2008, the population of Zichron Ya'akov was 18,100. Zichron Ya'akov has one of the highest percentages of English speaking olim in Israel, at 15% of the towns population.
Many of Zichron Ya'akov's residents, especially those who live on Hameyasdim Street, are still farmers with wholesome, hardworking, early-to-rise, early-to-bed values. Walking down the street, you can see courtyards containing hand tools that were used before being replaced by more modern methods, and horse stables at the back of residential houses, which are now used for different purposes. Side by side, with the farmers properties, upscale private homes have been built by families attracted to the scenic landscape. There is a sizable religious Jewish community in the town, ranging from Ultra-Orthodox to Reform streams.
The original Carmel-Mizrahi Winery continues to make wine in Zichron Ya'akov. The town draws many tourists attracted to its picturesque setting and historic city center whose restored main street of landmark buildings, called Derekh HaYayin ("Path of the Wine"), houses coffeehouses and boutique shops selling locally-made crafts, jewelery, and antiques.