Haifa, the third largest city in Israel, descends graciously from the top of Carmel Mount down to the Mediterranean shore. Mount Carmel is a holy place for the Christians, Jews and Muslems alike, as here some 2700 years ago the Prophet Elijah fought and defeated the followers of the Paganism – one against one four hundred and fifty! But this place is holy not only for the billions of the followers of these three religions of Bible and Koran, but also for some 10 million of the followers of the youngest world religion – the Baha’i.
Baha’i religion was conceived in Persia 160 years ago when a local merchant Ali Muhammad Shirazi declared himself “Bab”’ or “The Gate”, as through him the last and the most important Prophet will come, Baha'ullah (“Glory of God”), who will change the world forever. And, indeed, soon after the Bab was executed without trial by the Persian Government, one of his young followers, Mirza Husayn Ali Nuri, declared a creation of the new religion, and himself – Baha'ullah. His teachings call for the unification of all the humanity into a single global community of believers, as all the religions are from the single God. Moreover, the Baha’i believe that Bab is actually a reincarnation of the Prophet Elijah.
Baha'ullah was confined to the Ottoman Prison at Acre, where he spent 11 years of harsh imprisonment. Before he passed away in 1892, Baha'ullah ordered his son and successor Abdul Baha to bring and bury the remnants of Bab at the Holy Carmel Mountain’ where they belong. This was the beginning of the great Baha’i structure at the slope of Carmel. In 1953 a beautiful shrine was built above the graves of Bab and Abdul Baha, and a glorious garden started evolving around it. Today the gardens consist of 19 terraces – nine ascending from the Terrace of the Shrine up the mountain and another nine – descending the slope from it. This makes the Shrine a kind of the Center of the Universe. The number of the terraces represents two holly numbers of the Baha’i faith – 9 and 19. Numeric representation of the name “Baha”’ is 9, while Baha’i year consists of 19 months, with 19 days in each.
Everything is symbolic and mystical about Baha’i garden which itself represents the world’s unity and the ultimate beauty of the God’s creation. Trees and flowers brought from all over the world reflect the unity of the humanity. And, needless to say, that these gardens are among the world’s biggest (it occupies over 200,000 square meters) and doubtless, the most expensive ones – their construction costed over 100 million USD, all donated by the Baha’i communities around the world.
In 2008 the Gardens were where declared as a World Heritage Site.
If you want to enjoy the Gardens, together with many other attractions of the Israeli North, you are welcome to join our along the northern Coast tour: