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Bahais open $250 million garden

Tuesday, 22 May 2001 19:56 (ET)

HAIFA, Israel, May 22 (UPI) -- The Bahais on Tuesday inaugurated a $250 million garden that cascades down the heart of Mount Carmel right through Israel's third-biggest city.

The garden's architect and project manager, Fariborz Sahba of Canada, told United Press International that he believed the 1-kilometer-long garden was longer than the Garden of Tivoli in Rome and the Mogul Garden in Kashmir.

The Bahai garden runs from the top of Mount Carmel, almost hugged by two cliffs, and continues down the slope, making for a 225-meter (738-foot) drop covered with red, yellow and purple flower beds and fountains. Three bridges, also covered with flowers, span main roads that cross underneath.

The project took 10 years to complete and cost some $250 million, donated by the 5 million Bahais around the world.

In 1844, Siyyid Al-Muhammad, whom the Bahais call the Bab, founded the Bahai faith. The garden contains 19 terraces for the Bahai founder and his first 18 followers, and the garden's centerpiece is a golden domed shrine where the Bab is buried.

The Bahai faith originated in Iran, and the Bab was executed there, but he told his followers to make Mount Carmel his final resting place.

©Copyright 2001, United Press International

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United Press International