MembersDiscovering Haifa’s Flourishing Baha’i Paradise

What is the Baha’i faith, who are its followers, and why is it all centered on the northern Israel cities of Haifa and Akko?

By Rachel Avraham | | Topics: Tourism, Baha'i
Everyone is familiar with the stunning gardens in central Haifa. But did you know it was a holy site for a global religion? Photo: Marcelo Sus/FLASH90

The Shrine of the Bab and its surrounding gardens is the second holiest site in the Baha’i faith. Standing in the center of Haifa, the Shrine of the Bab is surrounded by 18 layers of lavish gardens, representing the 18 disciples who followed the Bab in Persia. These gardens constitute a flourishing paradise in the center of one of Israel’s major port cities.

Many readers are familiar with the exquisite gardens atop Haifa Bay, and may ponder who is the Bab and what is the Baha’i faith? Yitzhak Azriel, an Israeli tour guide from Haifa, told Israel Today: “The Baha’i faith began in Iran in 1844 by a young person known as Bab.” Bab, the herald of the Baha’i faith, was a Persian merchant. “His name means ‘gate’ in Arabic, and he is believed to be a gate to a new era. He spoke about stopping the holy war between the nations and of divine revelations to come and said someone greater than him will continue. The Persians threw him in jail. In 1850, he was executed.”

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