Bahai Center and Gardens in Acre

The Bahai faith was founded in the 19th C in Persia by Baha-Ullah (BahaUllah), and the last years of his life he was exiled to Acre. There are several Bahai Holy sites in the old city and the lands around it, where BahaUllah lived his last 32 years and where he is buried. Map.

Bahai Center and Gardens Acre
Bahai Center and Gardens Acre

Mirza Husayn Ali Nuri (1817-1892) founded the Bahai faith in the 19th C, and later was called BahaUllah. He was the follower of the Bab, who at the age of 25 declared himself as the Mahdi (the Islam messiah), and as a result was executed by the Turks in 1850. As a retaliation for this execution, BahaUllah and fellow followers attempted to assassinate the Persian Shah (1852). After the failed attempt, he was imprisoned for 4 months in Teheran, where he witnessed mystical experiences.

Bahai Center and Gardens Acre
Bahai Center and Gardens Acre

BahaUllah was later banished to Baghdad (1853). He moved to Kurdistan (1854-5) and returned back to Baghdad (1856-1863). In 1863 the Ottomans decided to exile him to Constantinople, their capital. He first stayed in the Garden of Ridvan near Baghdad for twelve days, where he proclaimed himself God’s messenger.

Bahai Center and Gardens Acre
Bahai Center and Gardens Acre

Then, he traveled to Constantinople, where he stayed for some time (4 months). BahaUllah then relocated to Edirne/Andianople (1863-1867). His banishment ended finally in Acre (1867-1892). In Acre he was imprisoned in a cell in the north-western side of the Citadel. After 6 years (1873), he was allowed to stay in a house on the western side of Acre, and stayed there for four years (1873-1877). The Abbud house was recently restored and painted white, with its windows and panels painted in turquoise.

In 1877 he relocated to the Mazraih house in Mazraa, north-east side of Acre, near Atidot institution (1877-1879). Later, the Bahai followers purchased what is called today the Bahji mansion, in the north-east of Acre. This was a summer house which belonged to a wealthy merchant from Acre, the previous owner of the Abbud house. This is where he lived until the rest of his life (1879-1892). The Bahai also purchased a large area south of Tell Akko where the “garden of Ridvan” was reconstructed for him, commemorating the garden in Baghdad.

BahaUllah died in 1892 and is buried in the mansion. His shrine and the grand garden around it is a sacred site of the Bahai faith, a place of pilgrimage.

The Bahai followers purchased land in Haifa, and established their worldwide center there. They constructed magnificent buildings and gardens, such as the Golden Shrine and Gardens. The Abbud house in the western side of the old city was restored. It is closed to the public, but it is recommended to pass near the house to admire the restoration.

The cell in the citadel was restored in 2003/4 and open to pilgrims. The BahaUllah’s mansion and shrine, north-east of Acre, is today a beautiful garden, designed in the Persian style. It is open to the public during limited visiting hours.

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