The Haifa Bahá’í Gardens are truly an awe inspiring place, set into the hillside above Haifa, Mount Carmel, with breath-taking views of the city and the harbour as well as the gardens themselves. If visiting Israel, please do not miss this.
We joined a guided tour in English during which you descend 720 steps, which take you through 19 terraces (a sacred number in the Bahá’í religion), past fountains and lush vegetation, all sponsored by the members of the religious order. The whole glorious experience is entirely free of charge. They will not accept donations nor charge an entry fee.
This seems to be an ideal religion which believes foremost in equality, non-violence, education, communication, research and basically peace. They will not carry weapons of any kind and the armed guards at the gates have to be recruited from outside the religion and many are volunteers. There are now some 6 million believers worldwide, so I was surprised that they were not better known.
At the end of the descent, we were ushered into a luxuriously air-conditioned cinema, where we were shown a short but very informative film about the Bahá’í religion and beliefs. We all left there wanting to know more and feeling truly inspired and uplifted.
A taxi minivan is waiting at the exit gate to take you back to the top (10 shekels each) where there is plenty of room to park your car.
Wikipedia link: www.ganbahai.org.il/en/tours/