7 June 2014

Haifa | Peace and Harmony in the Ba'hai Gardens

Haifa | Peace and Harmony in the Ba'hai Gardens

While road-tripping around Israel I also had my sights on Haifa, a city located north of Israel and the third largest city after Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. As we were staying in Shlomi, the drive was only about an hour if not less. With a population of a quarter of a million you will find all religions living in harmony here. One religion in particular that takes the show in Haifa is the BaHai Faith. A monotheisic religion that emphasizes the spiritual unity of humankind - basically that we all have the same spiritual sources and come from the same God, that all humans are equal, that diversity of race and culture are seen as worthy of appreciation and acceptance. I can't argue with that. If only we as people operated that way, the world would be far more peaceful today. Also considering that Israel's population is mainly made up of Jews, it's quite astonishing to find Bahai taking center stage in Haifa with the beautiful gardens on Mount Carmel. Nearly a million people visit the gardens each year, but the faith is still considered relative new. Started by a Persian 200 years ago, spreading from Iran now with 7 million practitioners around the world today, its a shame that believers are still being persecuted in countries such as Iran and many others in the Middle East. The first leader of the faith was shunned by the Shia clergy and executed in less than 10 years of the movement starting.

The efforts to increase fellowship were continued, which led to the name Baha'u'allah by Mirza Husayn Ali Nuri who also wrote to Pop Pious IX, Queen Victoria, Napolean III but he too was also banished to the Ottoman Empire's most infamous prisons located in Akko(Arce). This was after fleeing from persecution in Tehran, Istanbul, Badgbad and with conflict between the Babis(practioners of Bahai faith) arising it also wasn't long before the Ottoman authorities banished Bahais to Acre in Palestine(1868), the city is now part of Israel. This is also another beautiful city I visited while I was in Israel(post to come). It is considered to be one of the world's oldest cities to have been constantly inhabited and now seen as the birthplace of the Bahai faith. Each follower of the religion is required to make at least one pilgrimage to two of the most holy sites; in Haifa and Akko both of which are in Israel.

The Bahai gardens, now a UNESCO site, can be accessed either from the upper gate at Merkaz Carmel or the lower terrace at the Shderot Zionut. We approached from the top at Louis Promenade which also gives you panoramic views of Haifa. The Bahai Gardens are really unique and such a beautiful sight, featuring a staircase that ascends up the hill, with water features and a central terrace containing the golden domed Shrine of the Bab(founder of the faith). Some parts of the Garden are not accessible to tourists as they are considered sacred but amazingly tranquil. Beautiful colours giving you a sense of peace and harmony to be surrounded by such beauty. I had both my boyfriend's sister and brother giving me the tour of the city as one of them lives in Haifa. There are usually daily tours at 12pm in both English and Russian all free! In 45 minutes you are taken on a tour with 600 steps so comfortable shoes are a must. Getting to the Bahai Gardens and in and around the city is fairly easy as their are good bus transportation links throughout the city. I would recommend starting from the top and head down for the better views of the gardens.

Haifa | Peace and Harmony in the Ba'hai Gardens
Haifa | Peace and Harmony in the Ba'hai Gardens
Haifa | Peace and Harmony in the Ba'hai Gardens
Haifa | Peace and Harmony in the Ba'hai Gardens
Haifa | Peace and Harmony in the Ba'hai Gardens
Haifa | Peace and Harmony in the Ba'hai Gardens
Haifa | Peace and Harmony in the Ba'hai Gardens
Haifa | Peace and Harmony in the Ba'hai Gardens

67 comments:

  1. Beautiful pictures!! The Baha'i faith is really something... In Delhi (India) we have a Baha'i Temple as well. It's one of the most peaceful places in Delhi and, in my opinion, the world.

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    1. Yeah I have seen pictures of that. Really beautiful.

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  2. You're always going to such beautiful places! This city looks gorgeous, and not at all how I'd pictured Israel, for some reason!

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  3. Wow I wish I could travel there! Looks amazing!!
    Great pictures.
    Lots of love, xx

    http://marysreturn.blogspot.com.ar/
    http://marysreturn.blogspot.com.ar/

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    1. Thanks Maria, you should definitely visit.

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  4. Stunning pictures as always! Absolutely LOVE that sign though, all sizes, all colours, all ages ... wish more places had that attitude!

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    1. I know, when I saw that I just had to take a picture of it.

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  5. Loved reading about your travels, such beautiful photos too!
    xx Michelle
    salutmarinnn.blogspot.com.au

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  6. I remember seeing that temple when I was in Haifa more than thirty years ago, but I had forgotten how beautiful it was!

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    1. I am sure its still just as beautiful as you left it.

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  7. I love Haifa, the vibe is so different to the rest of Israel and this is definitely my most favourite place in Israel. Great post xx

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    1. Yeah I loved both Haifa and Jerusalem.

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  8. Great photos!!

    XX
    www.floortjeloves.com

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  9. I love your photos and loved the history, i was never aware of this and found it really interesting. Thank you!

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    1. Thanks Brad, glad you enjoyed them :)

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  10. wow what an interesting place with so much history! And your photos are stunning!

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  11. Yes! Was already looking forward to your Israel articles :)! Haifa looks like a charming city and love that sign!

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    1. Yeah, finally! Look out for my next post on Tel Aviv :)

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  12. Look at that sky, water . . and those colourful flowers! I can almost smell them now. Gorgeous photos!!

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    1. Hahaha glad you are enjoying the view :)

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  13. Haifa and the Ba'hai faith are sides of Israel that we never hear much about, so it's great to see a post from this angle. And your pictures are stunning!

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    1. Thanks! I totally wasnt expecting this at all. Beyond my expectations.

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  14. Thanks so much for linking up with us in #WeekendWanderlust – this is a really great article showcasing a spot that would be great to explore on a weekend trip!

    We have never visited Haifa or Israel for that matter but after reading this it certainly looks like an attractive destination. Your pictures are awesome and it looks like a great, relaxing spot to just grab a coffee and then look over the beautiful city whilst pondering where you want to explore next.

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    1. Thanks Chris. Yep this is definitely a place to visit. There are cafes and restaurants at the bottom of the gardens with that view to boot.

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  15. As always very beautiful photos, especially the last one! I would love to visit!

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    1. Thanks! Yeap when I saw it I knew I couldnt leave without capturing it.

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  16. These photographs are so stunning! You look like you are having such a wonderful time! What an incredible view from the top! I think I'll just add every place you post to my list. :) -Alexandra

    Fantastic photographs! This museum looks exceptional! Thank you for sharing. Adding this to my future Rome list. :) -Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

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    1. Thank you! It really is a sight! I am sure you will enjoy your visit there.

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  17. What a beautiful place. Looks like a steep and long stair up.

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  18. The coastal photos almost remind of Lebanon. I always thought of it being more of an arid region, but these pictures seriously correct my take--such a Mediterranean flair. The temple and grounds look so immaculately kept as well, it's amazing.

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    1. Yeah as they are so close to each other I am sure there are many similarities in not just the coastline but culture, food...too bad the similarities cant seem to unit this region.

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  19. Gorgeous photos! And so interesting! We have a relatively active Baha'i community in my city but I never really knew what the religion was all about. Thanks for enlightening me!

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    1. Awesome! I learn something new from reading about travels from other bloggers. Glad to hear that folks learn something new from my travel tales.

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  20. The picture at the top is stunning...well actually all of them are! Thanks for sharing such a beautiful place.

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    1. Thanks Simone. Glad you're enjoying the pictures.

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  21. Nice photos, I am sure you had a lovely visit.

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    1. Thanks! Yep it was really an enjoyable trip.

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  22. Breathtaking photos. I'd love to visit this place someday!! xo

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  23. I would go for the views alone. Amazing pictures and what a great day for a visit!

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    1. The were spectacular and a trip just for the view would be worth it!

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  24. Great views, those gardens are wonderful.

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  25. Fantastic photos! Now I know a lot more about Haifa and I've got itchy feet wanting to take me there :-)
    William
    NomadHead - Your Guide to Gap Year Travel
    http://bit.ly/NomadHead

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    1. Yep! Thats how I felt when I heard about them.

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  26. Fantastic photos ... and the views ... stunning!

    Rachel@safari254

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  27. I've been to Baha'i temple in Delhi and absolutely loved it. The calm atmosphere is something that we cannot find anywhere else. Haifa and the baha'i gardens are looking absolutely gorgeous. Look forward to reading more of Israel adventures from you.

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    1. I have heard about that. I will have to pass by when I visit Delhi.

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  28. These gardens are so spectacular! The views are incredible. I'm looking forward to reading more about your Israel trip!

    Amazing photos, btw. :)

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    1. Yeah it was a really beautiful sight, in addition to the sea view that formed a great backdrop.

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  29. Holy crap what a view! I don't think I'll ever leave that place!

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    1. hahaha and I didnt want to leave... :(

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  30. Amazing photos Bianca! That view is simple stunning.

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  31. Beautiful pictures again Bianca! :) Israel is on the top of my list for next year, although my friends think I am mad. I guess they associate Israel with wars and religious conflicts and forget about the amazing country that it really is. Maybe I should send them over to your blog so they can see what Israel is like for themselves.

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    1. Hahaha please bring them over! They sound just like my family. Some of there fears made it seem as if I just booked one way ticket to Kabul! Seriously, Israel is so beautiful. Very much like any Med country. There is so much effort to keep the peace there. Life seems as normal as living in London. Well, that's what it felt like when I was there.

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  32. Wow the gardens look absolutely amazing! And they look so peaceful too. I would love to spend an afternoon exploring them.

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  33. Yet another reason to visit Israel. This place is simply stunning!

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  34. These pictures are awesome! You really make us want to travel to Israel now! Great colors and compositions.

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    1. Haha that was the idea ;-) I am sure you will love it too.

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  35. The weather looks beautiful! It lent itself to beautiful pictures. Love the composition and aerial views.
    Israel is definitely on my list. So much history!

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  36. Stunning view. Thanks for sharing this heaven on earth. Hopefully I'll be on pilgrimage this december to the Bahai holy places :). I'm so excited and I can't wait! It's a blessing to be a Baha'i - www.bahai.org

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