Bahá’í World Centre
The administrative centre and most sacred places of the worldwide Bahá’í community are located in the vicinity of Acre and Haifa in northern Israel.
Ties of historical circumstance bind the Bahá’í Faith to its Holy Land. Bahá’u’lláh was sent to Acre in 1868 as the last destination in a life marked by a series of exiles and imprisonments.
The final resting places of Bahá’u’lláh and the Báb are located in the Holy Land. The golden-domed Shrine of the Báb, designed by prominent Canadian Bahá’í and accomplished architect William Sutherland Maxwell, is situated amid magnificent gardens on the slopes of Mount Carmel in Haifa, while the Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh lies just across the bay in Bahjí, outside of Acre. These two shrines are the most sacred places in the Bahá’í world.
The spectacular kilometer-long series of 18 terraced gardens surrounding the Shrine of the Báb was designed by Iranian-Canadian architect Fariborz Sahba. The gardens are flooded in light every evening to commemorate the period that the Báb spent in total darkness as a prisoner in northern Iran.
The buildings that make up the administrative heart of the international Bahá’í community are also situated on the slopes of Mount Carmel. Among them is the Seat of the Universal House of Justice. This seat and two of the buildings that accompany it were designed by Iranian-Canadian architect Hossein Amanat.
The International Archives Building houses writings and artifacts associated with the history of the Faith—particularly the lives of the Báb, Bahá’u’lláh, and ′Abdu’l-Bahá.
The building of the International Teaching Centre serves as the administrative offices of staff who coordinate, stimulate and guide the efforts of Bahá'ís around the world.
The Centre for the Study of the Texts houses a research department whose role is to study the Bahá’í sacred writings, oversee their translation, prepare compilations, and draft commentaries.
Each year, thousands of Bahá’ís from Canada and around the world make a pilgrimage to pray and meditate in the shrines and to visit the other historical sites in the area. The gardens are open to the public, and approximately 400,000 tourists and dignitaries visit them annually.