TheShrine of the Báb known as the “Golden Dome” is one of Haifa’s landmarks.
The Bábismfaith is one of the world’s youngest religions. It was founded in 1884 at the city of Shiraz in Iran, with the appearance of the Baha’i, the “Precursor”,Siyyid `Alí Muhammad Shírází. He announced that his role is to pave the way for the arrival of the Great Prophet, who will open a new chapter in the history of man, a chapter of peace, tranquility and unity. During his six years of activity, thousands of Shiite Moslems gathered around him that have been waiting for the revelation.
Mirza Hussein Ali, a descendent of the ancient Sasanian dynasty. He was called the Bahá’u’lláh, and his followers and believers have been called after him the Baha’is. Being of high rank, the Iranian authorities did not execute him but exiled him to the Akko prison. His son, Abdul, who took over the leadership, was also imprisoned and was set free in 1908, and set Haifa as the holiest city for the Bábismfaith.
The Golden Dome was built in 1953. It is made of Italian marble, and is supported by pink granite columns. The height of the dome is 40 meters and is covered with 14,000 gold plated bricks which were imported from Holland. As all Baha’I temples it has nine rib sides which symbolize the nine biggest religions.
The eighteen monumental hanging gardens connect the foot of the mountain with its top – nine of them above the temple and nine underneath it. The gardens’ designer is the architect Fariborz Sahba, who gained world fame for his design of the Bahá’í Lotus Shrine in India.
In addition to Haifa, Akko is also a sacred place for the Bahá’í faith, being the burial place of the Bahá’u’lláh, which is surrounded by magnificent gardens. At first the Bahá’u’lláh and his followers were placed at the old fortress of Akko, which served as a prison, and at some point the authorities allowed Bahá’u’lláh and his followers to leave the prison and settle in the city. After the Bahá’u’lláh moved from one place to another, he finally settled down at a beautiful mansion at the north of the city which is called by the Mansion of Bahjí (the small garden). Here he lived up to his death in 1892.