August 15, 2011, Updated April 22, 2015

Who would think that 19 terraced gardens would be the pilgrimage site for a world religion? The Baha’i Gardens at Haifa’s Mount Carmel, a UN World Heritage Site since 2008, are part of the faith’s world center.

But it’s also a major tourist attraction, with 750,000 visitors last year alone. There is no entry fee, instead tourists are given free guided tours by Baha’i staff.

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Some 450 plant species here were selected for their ability to survive with a minimum of water. And the extensive fountains were designed to recycle the same pool of water.

About half the garden’s workers are volunteers — approximately 600 of them from 60 countries. Part of the Baha’i faith’s teaching is beauty in diversity.