has always been linked with abundance and fertility, as indicated in the meaning of its original name "kerem"(vineyard). Mount Carmel, sacred to Jews and Christians alike, is also well known for its significant importance to the Bahai's, and serves as their spiritual and administrative centre.
- The shrine of the Bab, the prophet-herald of the Bahai's Faith, is situated at the heart of the Carmel slops.
- The shrine is surrounded by spectacular terraced gardens sculptured into the mountainside.
- The shrine of the Bab, also known as the "golden dome", is one of Haifa's most distinctive symbols
The hanging gardens
The Bahai Shrine, the terraced gardens of the Shrine of the Bab:
In 1987, gardening and construction works on the Carmel slopes had began with a purpose of beautifying and adorning the surroundings of the shrine of the Bab. The eighteen monumental terraced gardens connect the foot of the mountain with its crest, nine above and nine below the shrine.
The gardens were designed by the architect Fariburz Sahba, who won international acclaim for his design of the Bahai House of Worship in India, also known as the "Lotus Temple".The gardens were designed as hanging gardens throughout the slopes of the Carmel to create an appropriate setting and access paths to the shrine, one of the most sacred places for Bahai's. The architect explains: "The shrine of the Bab is envisaged as precious gem, for which the terraces provide the setting, like a golden ring for a precious diamond. The terraces are designed as nine concentric circles appearing to emanate from the shrine of the Bab. All their lines and curves direct the eyes and feeling towards that central edifice. The geometry of parallel surfaces and lines have been employed to create the most agreeable and comforting setting for the spectator along the entire landscape".
The combination of natural elements of light and water form a major role in designing the gardens, in addition to other ornaments that enrich the landscape.
The gardens stretch uphill for a length of one kilometer reaching a height of 225 meters, and their landscape envelops the mountain reaching a width of 400 meters. Special attention was paid to conservation of the environment when planning the gardens and a highly advanced irrigation system was installed to help conserve water.
Tours of the Bahai's gardens:
- It is possible to visit three areas of the Bahai Gardens without making an appointment:
- The first area is 'terrace number 19' , which you can access from 61 Panorama St.
- The second area is situated around the Shrine of the Bab, which you can access from 80, Ave ha Zionut (Zionism Ave).
- The third area is 'the entrance square' underneath terrace number 1, which you can access from the junction at Ha Geffen and Ben Gurion St.
- Terrace number 19 and the 'entrance square' are open every day, and you are all cordially invited to visit them between 9am and 5pm hours.
- The area around the Shrine of the Bab is open every day between 9am and 12pm hours.
- Tours take place all days of the week, excluding Wednesdays and Bahai holidays.
- The duration of each tour is approximately 45 minutes to an hour, during which a distance of roughly half a kilometer is covered. During each tour, visitors would need to walk down several hundreds of steep stairs.
- People suffering from health conditions, such as respiratory and knee problems, may participate in the tours at their own accountability. We recommend wearing a hat and comfortable shoes and bringing a bottle of water.
- The two tours do not include a guided visit to the mausoleum of the Bab.
- Please bear in mind that the Bahai Gardens form a part of the holiest site of the Bahai Faith.
- We would therefore respectfully suggest that you should wear modest clothing. Please do not bring your pets. Please leave any armaments or weapons behind. On the site of the Gardens we would prefer you not to organize picnics or bring any foodstuffs into the Gardens, and we would be particularly grateful if you kept a watchful eye on your children at all times.
- All tours and visits are free of charge.
- In order to book one of the tours, please ring from Sundays to Thursday from 9am to 5pm on 972-(0)4 -8313131.