Haifa: The Bahai Gardens and German Colony.
Reaching Haifa we ascend Mt. Carmel to visit The Bahai Gardens which is the Bahai World Centre
These garden terraces around the Shrine of the Bab (the forbearer of the Bahai religion) are one of the most visited tourist attractions in Haifa. The Canadian architect, Fariborz Sahba, designed these beautiful gardens in 1987 and opened them to the public in 2001. The site was recognized in 2008 by UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The gardens comprise of eighteen terraces plus one terrace of the Shrine of the Bab to make a total of nineteen terraces. Nineteen has a special significance in the Bahai religion. The Holiest place for the Bahai believers is situated just outside the city of Acre where their Prophet, the Bahaullah (considered as the 4th Prophet after Moses, Yeshua, and Muhammad) is buried.
The main principles of the Bahai faith are:
- Abandonment of all forms of prejudice.
- Full equality between the sexes.
- Recognition of the common source and essential oneness of the world’s great religions.
- Elimination of extreme poverty and wealth.
- Universal compulsory education.
- Right and responsibility of each person to search independently for truth.
- Establishment of world federal system.
- Recognition that faith must be consistent with reason and that science and religion should be in harmony.
From here we drive on to the city of Acre passing through the German Colony.
The German Colony: The German Colony was established in Haifa in 1868 by a German Evangelical group known as the Templers and their leader, Christoff Hoffman. It was the first of several colonies established by the group in the Holy Land. Others that were founded are Sarona (in T-A) in 1873 , Jerusalem in 1891, Wilhelma (now Bnei Atarot) in 1902 near Ben Gurion A.P., Valhalla (1903) near Jaffa, followed by Bethlehem of Galilee (1906) and Waldheim (now Alonei Abba) in 1907.
The Templers were the first to organize regular transportation services by stage coach between Jaffa, Acre, and Nazareth, including mail delivery.
They brought with them modern farming methods, introduced soil fertilization, crop rotation and new crops such as potatoes. They imported agricultural machinery, motorized water pumps and engaged in “mixed farming,” combining dairy farming, orchards, vineyards and field crops. They also brought with them modern building techniques. They established the famous Jaffa Orange Trade name.
In 1939, at the start of World War II, after the Templers joined the Nazi Party, the British authorities occupying the Holy Land, declared the Templers as enemy nationals, placed them under arrest and deported them to Australia.
Germany deducted the value of the Templers’ property from the reparations paid to the Jews as a result of the Holocaust.
Today most of the former German Colonies in the Holy Land have been renovated and turned into a commercial, tourist, and recreational centers.