History

The Baha'i Faith and its connection to Israel

The Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh

Founded in Iran, the Bahá'í Faith today has its spiritual and administrative center in Israel because of historic forces that led to the exile of its Founder, Bahá'u'lláh, to the city of Acre, located across the bay from Haifa.

After a series of banishments from His native Iran, Bahá'u'lláh, along with His family and a small group of followers, was sent in 1868 to Acre, then a bleak penal colony under Ottoman rule.

Although prisoners, the Bahá'ís eventually came to be regarded as a respected religious community in Acre. Over time, Bahá'u'lláh was granted limited freedom and, during a visit to Haifa in 1891, He designated Mount Carmel as the site for the world headquarters of His Faith. Bahá'u'lláh also directed that the remains of the Báb, the Faith's Herald and a Prophet in His own right, be buried on Mount Carmel.

With Bahá'u'lláh's passing and burial in the vicinity of Acre in 1892, the location of the spiritual center of the Bahá'í Faith was likewise fixed. Bahá'u'lláh's burial place at Bahjí, north of Haifa near the city of Acre, is the holiest place on earth for Bahá'ís.

In 1909, the Báb's remains were interred in a stone mausoleum on the side of Mount Carmel. In 1953, the golden-domed, white marble superstructure was erected over the mausoleum, completing the Shrine that is the second holiest place for Bahá'ís.

Over the years, Bahá'ís have built a series of gardens, encompassing other holy monuments, as well as other administrative buildings in the Haifa/Acre area. All are funded entirely by contributions from the worldwide Bahá'í community.

Today, more than 800 Bahá'ís serve as volunteers at the Bahá'í World Center. They come from all over the world, serving for specified periods of time, and are engaged solely in the care of the Bahá'í Holy places and the internal administration of the Bahá'í world community.

The city of Haifa and the government of Israel have welcomed the Bahá'í presence and the new construction. The Mayor of Haifa, Amram Mitzna, recently wrote that the nearly completed Gardens and Terraces for the Shrine of the Báb offer "unforgettably stunning panorama" for the "appreciation of all beauty lovers."

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