The Baha’i religion, whose holy places are in Israel, began in Persia in the mid-19th century, when its founder Mirza Husayn Ali, began to teach its basic tenets: the unity of all humankind and the progressive revelation of religious truth.
Mirza Husayn Ali, known as Bahá-u’lláh, or Glory of God, taught that throughout history prophets have come to reveal spiritual truths, including Moses, Jesus, Mohammed and a host of other religious leaders. He preached the establishment of a harmonious, ethical and forward-looking society free of economic, social and gender prejudices. Because of his beliefs, the Bahá-u’lláh was exiled to what in those days was isolation – the land of Israel. He lived under house arrest in Acre, where his home became a focus of pilgrimage, and later, in what is now the Baha’is’ holiest shrine, the Baji gardens, north of Acre, where he was also buried. It was Siyyid 'Ali-Muhammad, better known as the Báb, (the “gateway”) who announced the coming of Bahá-u’lláh. He was perceived in his native Persia as a dangerous rebel and executed in 1850.
The Shrine of the Báb in Haifa, a lodestone for the some five million adherents of the faith the world over, is a striking monument of religious architecture in a tranquil garden setting. It was built in 1909 by the Bahá-u’lláh’s son and successor, who had the Báb’s remains brought there for re-interment, and is also buried there. The 19 breathtaking Báha’i Terraces that rise from the foot of Mount Carmel to the tomb, with formal landscaped magnificence that graces the slopes by day and illuminates them inspiringly by night, have recently been inscribed on the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage List.