Haifa itself is popular for its welcoming atmosphere and diverse offerings. It’s a unique mix of history, culture and fun due to the abundance ofhistorically significant sites, a plethora of coffee and dining spots and, of course, its immaculate beaches on the Mediterranean Sea. Haifa is also known for being home to one of the most popular attractions in all of the Middle East – The Bahá’í Gardens – also referred to as The Terraces of the Bahá’í Faith, or the Hanging Gardens of Haifa.
The Bahá’í Gardens are made up of 19 terraces of the Shrine of the Báb, connected by one long staircase, that line the way up Mount Carmel’s northern slope and is one of the most breathtaking and well-kept gardens on the planet. The terraces represent the first eighteen disciples of the Báb, who were designated “Letter of the Living”, although no individual terraces are connected with individual Letters. It’s much a work of art as it is a labor of love and the collective expression of those who work meticulously to maintain the gardens.
The gardens provide a natural frame for uninterrupted views of Haifa, the Mediterranean Sea and the Galilee Hills. But as much as people will want to gaze out to the surrounding areas, the real visible beauty is found, literally, at their feet – a sanctuary of serenity that screams of beauty through its brilliant silence.
Bahá’í Gardens – a UNESCO World Heritage Site Since 2008
In mid-2008, the Bahá’í Gardens were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. The gardens are open from 9:00am to 5:00pm seven days a week, however the inner gardens – located next to the shrine – closes each day at noon. It’s also wise to keep an eye on the weather as the Bahá’í Gardens do close during rain as a safety precaution. As well, Bahá’í holy days and Yom Kippur are also days when the gardens are not open. Photography is welcomed in all areas of the gardens except for the interior of the shrine.
About the Bahá’í Faith
The Bahá’í Faith is based on the spiritual unity of all who inhabit the Earth – specifically, the unity of God, religion and humanity with the idea that we are all created equal and that diversity is to be accepted and appreciated. The Bahá’í Faith was founded in 19th century Persia and spread through Europe and America. Today, the Bahá’í Faith is active in over 200 countries and over 5 million Bahá’í faithful.
Bahá’í Gardens – Notes for Visitors
For those who want to gain the most knowledge and richest experience from touring the Bahá’í Gardens, daily walking tours (except Wednesdays) are available free of charge. No need to make reservations – unless your group is larger than 25 – or if you have any special requirements.
Visitors are reminded that the Bahá’í Gardens are a religious site and those who wish to visit the gardens are requested to dress modestly, choosing clothes that reach the knees and covers the shoulders. Guests in the gardens are also reminded to maintain decorum and help maintain the overall cleanliness of the site.
Truly a sight to be seen by anyone traveling to the Middle East, the Bahá’í Gardens capture the essence of the Faith only it to have it bloom for all. Make a visit to the Bahá’í Gardens part of your itinerary in Israel as you enjoy Haifa and all the city and region have to offer.
David Ben-Sira knows every trail and every stone in Israel. A passionate traveller, full time tour guide at Kenes Tours and part time history teacher.