The Bahá'í World Centre buildings are buildings that are part of the Bahá'í World Centre in Israel. The Bahá'í World Centre buildings include both the Bahá'í holy places used for pilgrimage and the international administrative bodies of the Bahá'í Faith; they comprise more than 20 different administrative offices, pilgrim buildings, libraries, archives, historical residences, and shrines. These structures are all set amidst more than 30 different gardens or individual terraces.
The buildings themselves are located in Haifa, Acre, and Bahjí, Israel. The location of the Bahá'í World Centre buildings has its roots to Bahá'u'lláh's imprisonment in Acre, which is near Haifa, by the Ottoman Empire during the Ottoman Empire's rule over Palestine, now Israel. Many Bahá'í holy places in Haifa and around Acre, including the terraces and the Shrine of the Báb on the north slope on Mount Carmel, and the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh, the Mansion of Bahji, and the Mansion at Mazra'ih were inscribed on the World Heritage List in July 2008.
The Bahá'í shrines "are the first sites connected with a relatively new religious tradition to be recognized by the World Heritage List." The UNESCO World Heritage Committee considers the sites to be "of outstanding universal value [and]...inscribed for the testimony they provide to the Bahá’i’s strong tradition of pilgrimage and for their profound meaning for the faith."
Haifa is the third-largest city in Israel, and it is a seaport, located below and on Mount Carmel, and lies on the Mediterranean coast. In 1891 Bahá'u'lláh himself designated Mount Carmel as the location for the Shrine of the Báb. Later, Bahá'u'lláh in the Tablet of Carmel wrote that Mount Carmel would be the physical location of the Bahá'í World Centre.
The Shrine of The Báb
The Shrine of the Báb is the location where the Báb's remains have been laid to rest. The location was designated by Bahá'u'lláh himself in 1891 while he was camped, with `Abdu'l-Bahá, across from Mount Carmel. The location is right above the German Colony, which was established in the 1860s by the German Templer Society, who were working for the Kingdom of God on earth. The shrine was built by `Abdu'l-Bahá in 1909.
The Arc Buildings
The Arc composes a number of administrative buildings as revealed by Bahá'u'lláh in the Tablet of Carmel, built in the shape of an ark which include, the Seat of the Universal House of Justice, the Seat of the International Teaching Centre, the International Bahá'í Archives and the Centre for the Study of the Sacred Texts. The fifth building, the International Bahá'í Library has yet to be built.
Seat of the Universal House of Justice
The Seat of the Universal House of Justice is the building located in Haifa, Israel where the Universal House of Justice, the centre of the Bahá'í covenant, sits. It is a large building where the House of Justice can meet dignitaries and pilgrims, and attend to other business. It also houses a few other offices of the Bahá'í World Centre. Located at the apex of The Arc and built with sixty Corinthian columns around it to mirror the design of the International Archives. The architect was Hossein Amanat and it was completed in 1982 during the second stage of building on the Arc, to be occupied in 1983.
During a Bahá'í pilgrimage the members of the Universal House of Justice greet each of the pilgrims in turn before they are shown around main areas of the building. Seat of the International Teaching Centre. Built in the third stage of the building of the Arc, the Seat of the International Teaching Centre is where the International Teaching Centre is based. The architect was Hossein Amanat and it was completed in 2001.
Centre for the Study of the Sacred Texts
Built in the third stage of the building of the Arc, the Centre for the Study of the Sacred Texts is the base of the scholars and translators who study and translate the Bahá'í texts to assist the Universal House of Justice. The architect was Hossein Amanat and it was completed in 1999.
The International Archives is the first building to be built on the Arc and holds many of the most sacred items within the Bahá'í Faith, but most importantly is built for the viewing of the paintings and drawings of Bahá'u'lláh and the Báb, along with a single photograph of Bahá'u'lláh. Although some of these items are available on the internet today, most Bahá'ís prefer to see these items only in a reverent atmosphere, during the pilgrimage.
Shoghi Effendi chose the Parthenon as the basis for the design, possibly due to the apparent enduring beauty even after thousands of years. The capitals of the fifty columns were Ionic rather than the Doric Order.It was finished in 1957 however Shoghi Effendi never lived to furnish the interior. This was left to his wife Rúhíyyih Khanum. Previously the rear three rooms of the Shrine of the Báb and then the building beside the Monument Gardens now called the Department of Holy Places were temporary Archives buildings.
The Visitors Centre
The Visitors Centre is an underground structure on the 11th terrace behind the Shrine of the Báb on Mount Carmel within Haifa, Israel. It can be found on street level under the Hatzionut Bridge which the terraces pass over.
The Garden of Ridván
The Garden of Ridván (lit. garden of paradise) is a Bahá'í holy place situated just outside Akká within modern Israel. Originally known as the 'garden of Na‘mayn', it was rented by `Abdu'l-Bahá for Bahá'u'lláh where he enjoyed spending the later part of his life, after years in a desolate prison cell. Although it shares the same name it does not have the same significance of the Garden of Ridván, Baghdad and no connection to the festival of Ridván.
- Original Western Pilgrim House
- Second Western Pilgrim House
- Eastern Pilgrim House
- Haifa Pilgrim Reception Centre
- Resting place of Amatu'l-Bahá Rúhíyyih Khanum