Whether you are considering traveling to north Israel, or simply passing by the city of Haifa, make sure you don’t miss Haifa’s Baha’i Gardens. This UNESCO World Heritage site sacred to Baha’i people from all over the world, will not only take your breath away, but will also provide you with a unique almost spiritual experience.
Here are 5 excellent reasons to include Haifa’s Baha’i Gardens in your itinerary:
1. Spectacular views
Even before entering the grounds, standing at their top gate, at Yafe Nof Street (“Yefe Nof” in Hebrew literally translates as “beautiful view”) you cannot help but marvel at the picturesque panoramic scenery. Their construction over the steep slopes of the biblical Carmel Mountains, just adds, to my mind to their mystery and charm.
In addition to a view of the gardens, you should be able to get a stunning view of Haifa City, the bay and modern port. Some say that on a clear day you can see all the way up to the northern border of Israel.
Another impressive viewpoint is from the bottom of the gardens. As you drive through Haifa’s Ben Gurion Boulevard towards the mountains, you will witness a special sight. Templer German Houses on either sides of the boulevard will make you feel as if you are in Europe. But, looking up at the Hanging Gardens and the Gold-Domed Bahai Shrine, you will feel as though you have been transported to a completely different setting.
2. A great photo opportunity
Harmonious green gardens, classic-style buildings and dreamy landscapes. It seems that you can not take a bad photo in the Baha’i Gardens. You will not be able to miss the hypnotizing deep blue of the bay, the terra cotta red of Tuff, and the golden hues of the dome of the Shrine of the Bab. The gardens are constructed in such an optimal way, that they almost serve as a photographer’s paradise.
3. Four hundred and fifty shades of green
The gardens are rightfully considered as some of the most beautiful in the world. They contain about 450 different species of well-groomed local plants. There are 19 terrace levels, with perfect symmetrical gardening. As hard as you try, you will not be able to spot an unkempt plant. A team made up of international volunteers of the Baha’i faith takes care of the immaculate gardening. You can tell everything has been done with precision, and care for the smallest details.
4. Because it’s free
It is hard to believe that in our materialistic world, although the Gardens are privately owned, the Baha’i allow the site to be visited by the general public for free.
Free guided tours (!): take place every day, except Wednesdays. See the Tour’s departure times here. There is no need to book in advance. Join the tour in the order you get there.
5. Globalization is here – a chance to learn about a new culture
The World center of the Bahá’í Faith (the youngest religion in the world) that advocates the principles of equality and democracy is located in the Gardens in Haifa, Israel. Read about the Bahai teachings and principles of the fascinating Bahá’í Faith.
If you are curiouse about how the Baha’i faith is practiced today by their members (hint, it constantly evolves according to modern Community needs and world influences), ask your tour guided at the grounds. They will be happy to explain.
So if you’re coming to the Haifa area, do yourself a favor and visit the Baha’i Gardens.
What’s certain is that you won’t be sorry. You’ll probably even come out of the visit with a serene smile and inspiration from all the beauty you see.
Address: Yafe Nof 61, Haifa, Israel.
Opening hours: The upper level is open every day 09:00-19:00, (in winter until 17:00). The Gardens are closed on Yom Kippur, rainy days and during the Bahá’í Holidays.
Departure point for tours: 45 Yefe Nof Street, Haifa. The tour takes approximately 50 minutes.
Please bear in mind the gardens are a holy place. Dress modestly and be respectful. Bring comfortable shoes and consider that the stroll in the gardens includes a huge amount of steps.
* As for 8.7.20 The gardens are temporarily closed until further notice due to the Corona virus.
*Still photos by Adi Ben Ezer
Because you read about the Baha’i Gardens, you might be interested in reading about other attractions in Haifa: