Bahai Gardens, Haifa

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Bahai Gardens are religious holy places for those belonging to the Bahai faith. They are people scattered across Bahai houses of worship and in many sacred spots in Israel. The most popular of these, the hanging gardens of Haifa, exist at the very heart of the beautiful city, which is surrounded by the slopes of Mount Carmel. 

The garden consists of cascading terraces that encircle a contrasting white and gold shrine, and this shrine is the final resting place for the faith’s founder and prophet, The Bab. Although stunning even without context, once you have learned the basics of their religious philosophy, it allows you to appreciate the site truly.

 

The Bab

The founder of the Babism faith, The Bab (Sayyed Ali Muhammad Shirazi), was born in Persia in 1819. he founded the Babism faith and claimed to be the inspired interpreter of the Quran. he named himself the Prophet of a New Age and the latest manifestation of God. 

“Bab” translates to the door or gateway. The Bab composed extensive written material and teachings on the Baha’i religion, and he slowly gained more support and followers. The Irani clergy and government began to persecute him and his followers. In 1850, The Bab was executed by firing squad. His resting place is the shrine which lies in the center of the Baha’i Gardens in Haifa. 

 

The Baha’i Gardens

The Baha’i Gardens are a phenomenal site of immense beauty, and they reflect many of the tenets from within the religion. The gardens are landscaped them to near geometrical perfection, which mirrors the oneness, unity and diversity of mankind. The gardens are aligned to reflect this effect of harmony and balance, with intricate symmetrical designs dancing around the carefully and strategically planted flowers that offer striking color to the situation. The symmetry of the 19 terraces, which are circular and wave-like in shape, are meant to inspire feelings of peace and tranquility within an observer. They draw attention towards to the Shrine on the central terrace.

With over 200,000m² of flowers and greenery and impressive water features, the entire landscape is a thing of wonder and serenity. The trickling waterways alongside the perfect lawns create a sense of absolute repose. Statues and decorative elements with religious significance for the followers adorn the gardens all over. 

There is a repetitive pattern of the number 9, which is considered sacred in the faith, there are 9. 19. 99 or 999 of each element, e.g., 999 steps on the path, 19 terraces are cascading down to the shrine, etc. 

Visitors are to show reverence for the sacred site. As they are to remove their shoes, dress modestly, as well as speak softly when in the space. There exists even a stunning observation balcony on the outer gardens at the peak, offering a spectacular view of the central gardens and a breathtaking sight of the city and Bay of Haifa.

If you want to explore the beautiful Bahai Gardens, join our Caesarea, Haifa, Acre and Rosh HaNikra Tour.

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