Common questions

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About visiting the gardens
Is there a charge for entering the gardens or taking a tour?

No, entry to the gardens is free, and the tours are also offered without charge.

Do I have to be a Bahá’í to enter the shrines?

No.  Like the gardens, the Shrines are open to everyone, but the hours are more limited.  Please note the schedule of visiting hours for the Haifa and ‘Akko sites.

Can I make a donation for the upkeep of the gardens?

Donations are only accepted from members of the Bahá’í community, but visitors can help us keep the gardens clean and beautiful and contribute to the quiet and order that allow everyone to enjoy their visit.

How do I join a tour?

Please visit the Tours section of this Web site for detailed information.

Can I take pictures anywhere I want?

Photography is allowed everywhere except inside the shrines.

I think I lost something during my visit to the gardens, is there a way I can check if it has been found?

Yes, please send us an email (Contact us).

Can I hold a wedding or other private event in the gardens?

Many people choose to take wedding photographs in the Bahá’í Gardens, and you are most welcome to do so, but the gardens are not available for rent or the holding of private events

Can I visit the gardens in a wheel chair? Do you have facilities for the handicapped?

It is possible to visit the gardens within the practical limits imposed by the topography. For more information, please visit the section of this Web site for organized groups.

How many visitors come to the gardens?

The Bahá’í Gardens in Haifa and ‘Akko draw an average of about 12,000 visitors a week or well over 600,000 a year.

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About the Gardens and Terraces
Why were the gardens built?

The gardens were built to provide a fitting approach to and setting for the shrines in which the founders of the Bahá’í religion are buried. The gardens create a quiet and tranquil environment which help Bahá’ís to prepare themselves to visit their holy places.

How many kinds of plants are there in the gardens?

About 450 plant species may be found in the gardens.  Most of these plants are native to the region and were chosen for their color, height, hardiness and ability to survive with a minimum of water.

How big are the gardens in Haifa?

The gardens in Haifa stretch 1 kilometer up the northern slope of Mount Carmel, and they are 400 meters across at the widest point. The vertical distance between the bottom terrace and the top one is 225 meters.

How many steps are there?

It may vary somewhat depending on the route you take, but there are approximately 1,700 steps from top to bottom.

How many gardeners does it take to maintain these gardens?

The gardens staff comprises roughly 90 local workers drawn from a variety of ethnic and religious communities and 50 Bahá'í volunteers from about a dozen countries.

Who pays for the maintenance of the gardens?

The development and operational expenses of the Bahá’í World Centre are covered by voluntary contributions from the Bahá’í communities around the world. 

Is it true that every Bahá’í is required to donate a dollar a day?

There is no basis to this rumor. All Bahá’ís feel that it is their duty and privilege to contribute to the work of their Faith, but neither the amount nor the timing is fixed. Most Bahá’ís are not wealthy people, and their donations reflect the depth of their love and devotion.

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About the Buildings
If the shrine in ‘Akko is the holiest site to Bahá’ís, what is the shrine on Mount Carmel?

The Bahá’í Faith is based on the teachings of two prophets of God, who lived in the nineteenth century. The first was the Báb, who is buried on Mount Carmel. The Báb is called the Prophet-Herald because He foretold the coming of the Prophet-Founder, Bahá’u’lláh, who is buried in ‘Akko.

Is the dome of the shrine in Haifa made of real gold?

The dome is covered with some 12,000 glazed ceramic tiles which contain a very thin layer of gold leaf.

Why are the buildings designed with a Greek style of architecture?

The classical style of architecture was chosen because it represents a standard of beauty and dignity beyond trends and fashions. Since the buildings of the administration complex were built to last for many generations, it was not worthwhile to adopt a type of architecture that would have looked out of fashion after a few decades.

What is underneath the gardens in Haifa?

Some of the Bahá’í’ World Center buildings were built into the side of the mountain in order to avoid harming the landscape of mount Carmel and to protect the balance and design of the gardens. These structures are mainly offices and parking lots; they include bomb shelters as required by law and a passageway which connects the buildings.

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About the Bahá’í World Centre
Why is the Bahá’í World Centre in Israel?

The Prophet-Founder, Bahá’u’lláh, was banished from his homeland and eventually exiled to ‘Akko during the Ottoman Period.  He lived in ‘Akko for the last 24 years of His life (1868-1892), and is buried in Bahjí, in the northern part of the city.  The remains of the Báb were brought from Iran and buried in Haifa in accordance with the instructions of Bahá’u’lláh, who also decided that the administrative institutions of the future Bahá’í community would have their seat on Mount Carmel.

How many Bahá’ís are there in Israel?

The Bahá’ís that live in Israel are volunteers who come to serve at the Bahá’í World Centre for a limited period of time and then return to their home countries.  On the average, there are about 650 volunteers from about 75 different countries at any one time and roughly a third of them are replaced every year.

Are there any Israeli Bahá’ís?

Aside from the staff of volunteers serving at the Bahá’í World Centre, there is no Bahá’í community in Israel, and no converts are accepted. This is the result of instructions given by Bahá’u’lláh Himself to the believers who followed Him into exile not to spread his teachings in the Holy Land. In the 1930s and 40s, the descendents of these believers were instructed by the head of the Faith to return to their homes or settle elsewhere.

Did the State or the Municipality donate land for the Bahá'í Gardens?

No, the Bahá’í World Centre does not accept donations of any kind from outside the Bahá’í community. The land for the gardens was purchased, parcel by parcel, over a long period of time. Some parcels were acquired by appropriation or exchange with government bodies, but the Bahá’ís always paid full value in land or money.

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About the Bahá’í Faith
Is the Bahá’í Faith a philosophy, a sect or a religion?

The Bahá'í Faith is a monotheistic religion based on the teachings of the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh , each of whom received a direct revelation from God. The Bahá’í Faith accepts the validity of all the other major world religions, but it is not a sect or offshoot of any of them. Its independent character is reflected in a unique world-view and community structure anchored in its own sacred scriptures, religious laws and calendar.

What do Bahá’ís believe in?

Bahá'ís believe that the unique God, Creator of the Universe, has educated humankind all through history by sending the prophets or messengers who established the world's major religions. In this sense, all religions come from the same source and are part of one ongoing educative process; Bahá'ís recognize two prophets for this age, the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh.

What is the role of the clergy in the Baha'i religion?

In the Bahá’í Faith there is no professional clergy or other category of people whose function is to administer the community, officiate at ceremonies or provide spiritual guidance.

Who is the head of the Bahá’í Faith?

In His writings, Bahá’u’lláh called for the establishment of a system of democratically elected councils at the local, national and international levels.  The Head of the Bahá’í Faith is the Universal House of Justice, whose nine members are elected for every five years by the members of all the national councils.

Do the Bahá’ís have a Holy Book?

The book of laws, composed by Bahá’u’lláh while He was a prisoner in ‘Akko, was called by Him the Kitáb-i-Aqdas or “Most Holy Book”.  It is part of a large body of scripture dealing with many subjects, including principles for personal conduct and the governance of society, and including mystical works on the progress of the soul and its journey towards God.

What is the basis of the Bahá’í calendar?

The Bahá’í calendar takes, as its starting point, the equinox marking the beginning of spring in the northern hemisphere. The year is made up of nineteen months of nineteen days each, with four or five days added between the eighteenth and nineteenth months to complete the annual cycle. The New Year ’s Day, known as Naw-Rúz, is a festival marking the end of the month of fasting. The calendar also includes holy days marking the birth and passing of Bahá’u’lláh and the Báb and the moments when They each announced Their prophetic missions.

What are the religious laws of the Bahá’í Faith?

The laws governing personal life include obligatory daily prayer, an annual period of fasting and prohibitions against backbiting, gambling, involvement in partisan politics and the nonmedical use of alcohol or drugs.  Bahá’ís have a duty to engage in a trade or profession and to see to the moral and academic education of their children.

Do Bahá’ís observe any dietary restrictions?

Although there are no dietary restrictions in the Bahá’í Faith, the consumption of alcoholic beverages and the non-medicinal use of narcotic and hallucinogenic drugs is prohibited.

How do Bahá’ís worship?

Bahá’ís worship God through prayer and meditation.  Devotional gatherings consist in the reading of prayers and other passages from the scriptures of the Bahá’í Faith and other religions.  The prayer that constitutes a religious duty consists in the daily recitation of any one of the three prayers prescribed by Bahá’u’lláh.  This duty is fulfilled by each adult believer in privacy and is not subject to any control or sanction.  According to the Bahá’í teachings, work performed in the spirit of service to others is a form of worship.

What is the Bahá'í view of marriage and family?

The family is the basic unit of social life, and the progress of society depends on properly functioning families based on a monogamous union in which a man and the woman are equal partners. Bahá’u’lláh described matrimony as “a fortress for well-being and salvation” and identified the rearing of children as the fundamental, though not the only, purpose of marriage.

How many Bahá'ís are there in the world and where do they live?

The Bahá'í community is made up of over five million people who represent a sampling of all the world’s tribal, racial, and ethnic groups. In 1988, with Bahá’ís living in over 100,000 localities in 206 sovereign and non sovereign countries, the Britannica Book of the Year concluded that the Bahá’í Faith had a significant following in more countries than any other religion except Christianity. The largest national Bahá’í community is in India.

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