The Bahai Gardens in Haifa Israel is the city’s most important landmark. They are located off the city center and can be viewed from downtown looking up or from atop of Mt Carmel looking down. They comprise a staircase of nineteen terraces extending all the way up the northern slope of Mount Carmel.
A view from atop of Mt Carmel of the gardens and Haifa
The Shrine of the Bab
The golden domed Shrine of the Bab, the resting place of the Prophet of the Bahai Faith, stands on the central terrace, looking across the bay towards the city of Akko.
While different parts of the gardens offer a variety of experiences, they speak in a common language of graveled paths, hedges and flower beds groomed and nurtured by dedicated gardeners. The gardens frame panoramic views of the city, the Galilee Hills and the Mediterranean Sea.
The Bahai Center is the second holiest shrine of the Bahai Religion, completed in 2001, as a Memorial to the founders of the Faith. Pilgrims of the faith come from all over the world to pay homage to the first leaders of the faith. This religion emphasizes unity across cultures and religions.
A view of the Bahai Temple from downtown Haifa
History of the Bahai Religion
This religion started in the middle of the 19th century due to persecutions in Persia. They believe that God has sent us different messengers during time like Moses, Jesus and Muhammad sending us the same message of unity.
The Bab himself died a martyr’s death in front of a firing squad in 1850. His remains hidden for some time were eventually carried to the Holy land.
Baha'ullah was one of the teachers of the faith exiled by the Turks to Acre, Akko of today, and on a visit to Haifa in 1890, a couple of years before his death, pointed to his son the place on Mount Carmel where the remains of the Bab will be laid to rest for ever.
The International Archives Building of the Bahai Religion
At first the Bab’s tomb was in a simple stone building constructed between 1899 and 1909. Baha'ullah eldest son Abdul Baha a later leader of the faith was also buried in the shrine.
The shrine saw a major enlargement designed by Architect William Sutherland Maxwell, 1948 – 1953. Then later during the years 1975-1983 the Seat of the Universal House of Justice was added. There is the place of meeting of the governing body of the Bahai faith.
The gardens or terraces were designed by Architect Fariborz Sahba during 1990-2001. In 2008 the Bahai Gardens were named by UNESCO as World Heritage Site, together with the tomb of Bahaullah in Akko.
The Shrine of the Bab, a golden dome structure stands at the middle of the terraces. It is the resting place of the Prophet of the Bahai Faith. They all look to Akko on the other side of Haifa Bay.
The Bahai Gardens full with flowers and path to walk around offer a magnificent view of Haifa, Acco and the Galilee. On a higher slope stands Bahai International Archives Building shaped as the Parthenon in Athens, Greece.
Also there stands the Bahai Universal House of Justice with columns and hanging gardens. These administrative buildings are not open to the general public. At the entrance of the Shrine you’ll be provided with pamphlets proving information about the Bahai Religion.
Bahai Center in Akko at the other end of Haifa Bay
Bahai Center in Akko
The Bahai Gardens in Akko form a wide circle surrounding the historic mansion where Bahaullah, the Prophet and Founder of the Bahai Faith, resided during the final years of His life and the shrine where His remains were laid to rest. You walk through a path framed by cypress tree to reach the circular garden.
bahai gardens by deror avi
archives by guillaume paumier
monuments by arish hashemi
akko by elias moshe
All courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
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