By Harvey Stein
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.
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.