Terraces (Baháʼí)

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The Shrine of the Báb and its Terraces
Aerial view of the bridge terrace behind the Shrine of the Báb
Downward view of the upper terraces
Terraces at night

The Terraces of the Baháʼí Faith, also known as the Hanging Gardens of Haifa, are garden terraces around the Shrine of the Báb on Mount Carmel in Haifa, Israel. The gardens rest in the neighborhoods of Wadi Nisnas and Hadar HaCarmel. They are one of the most visited tourist attractions in Israel. The architect was Fariborz Sahba of Iran and the structural engineers were Karban and Co. of Haifa. Along with the Baháʼí Holy Places in Western Galilee, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


The terraces represent the first eighteen disciples of the Báb, who were designated "Letters of the Living",[1] although no individual terraces are connected with individual Letters.[2]


Nine concentric circles provide the main geometry of the eighteen terraces. Just as the identification of a circle presupposes a centre, so the terraces have been conceived as generated from the Shrine of the Báb. The eighteen terraces plus the one terrace of the Shrine of the Báb make nineteen terraces total. Nineteen is a significant number within both the Baháʼí and Bábí religions.

Fariborz Sahba began work in 1987 designing the gardens and oversaw construction. The terraces were opened to the public in June 2001.[3] Beginning at its base, the gardens extend almost one kilometre (0.6 miles) up the side of Mount Carmel, covering some 200,000 square metres (2,152,782 square feet) of land. The gardens are linked by a set of stairs flanked by twin streams of running water cascading down the mountainside through the steps and terrace bridges.[4]

The gardens have elements of the Persian paradise gardens, isolating the site from the noise of the surroundings and connecting the different Baháʼí buildings on Mount Carmel together.[5]

Water and ecology[edit]

The irrigation system includes a computer which, based on meteorologic data it receives, controls hundreds of valves to distribute water throughout the gardens by sprinkling and dripping. This is done at night and in the early morning, to avoid wasting water by evaporation. The water that flows alongside the stairs is circulating in a closed system within each terrace, so that little water is wasted.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Info.bahai.org: The Projects on Mount Carmel
  2. ^ UHJ letter: Letters of Living; Dawn-Breakers; Quddus; Terraces
  3. ^ Momen, Moojan (2009). "Baháʼí World Center". Baháʼí Encyclopedia Project. Evanston, IL: National Spiritual Assembly of the Baháʼís of the United States.
  4. ^ Gardens of Worship: Recreating Eden (season 3, episode 30, 2006) Archived 2012-03-01 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Yael Hammerman: Distinctive Design of the Baháʼí Gardens
  6. ^ Baháʼí World Centre: Environmental Considerations in the Baháʼí Gardens

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 32°48′52″N 34°59′13″E / 32.81444°N 34.98694°E / 32.81444; 34.98694