The Bahai Gardens create a majestic, beautiful and meticulous display of sculptured perfection and devotion to the Bahai faith. Located along the northern coast of Israel in the city of Akko, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is designed in a circular pattern surrounding the historic resting place of Baha’u’llah, a founder of Bahai. The center of the grounds contains the home where Baha’u’llah spent his final days and the shrine where his remains were placed. This is one of the two holiest sites associated with the founders of the Bahai religion. The other holy site is the Bahai Gardens in Haifa, which contains the Holy Shrine of the Bab.
History of Bahai
The religion began in 1844 in Siraz, Iran. Siyyid Ali Muhammad Shirazi, the prophet Bab, attempted to spread his beliefs but was faced with opposition from the Shia clergy. Despite gaining thousands of followers, he was executed after just six years. Mirza Husayn Ali Nuri, Baha’u’llah, continued his efforts. Baha’u’llah was expelled to a prison belonging to the Ottoman Empire in Akko.
When he was released, he spent nine years living under house arrest, including the home that is a centerpiece in Akko’s Bahai Gardens. Through the years, the religion first spread to Western Europe and North American and then, the rest of the world.
Today, there are about five million people around the world who are followers of the Bahai faith.
Visiting the Bahai Gardens in Akko
The grounds are open seven days a week from 9 am to 4 pm. They are closed on Bahai holy days and Yom Kippur and it is free to enter.
The best times to visit are Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or Monday between 9 am and 12 pm. During these times, the inner garden is open, as well as the shrine. During the remaining operating hours, visitors can only walk around the outer gardens.
The easiest way to get here is by car or by tour. Visitors can take National Road 4 to the North Akko junction. Heading south toward the center of Akko, take the first left turn and follow the road to the end. The entrance is located at the end of the old access road to Kibbutz Shomrat.
Free parking is located near the entrance. Visiting the Bahai Gardens is a great stop as you make your way around Akko or on to Galilee.