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Tuesday saw the culmination of ten years work and a $250 million investment, with the official opening of the Baha'i Terraces and gardens on Mount Carmel in Haifa. The Terraces will open to the public on June 4, 2001.

While the Terraces have been under construction, it has been clear to passersby that this is truly a beautiful and unique project.

Nothing in the Terrace gardens was left to chance. In order to choose the most suitable plants (based on the soil), experiments were conducted which took into account the angle of sunlight, wind and also allotted for the closeness to the ocean. Color was a main consideration in design, since it is a function of light. Each season will be highlighted by a different color, purple, red, yellow and pink.

Comprised of 19 Terraces, which stretch up the mountain, over a kilometer, the official Terraces Web site describes the gardens, as follows, "Each terrace has three garden zones. The central area is formal in layout, with lawns of Zoysia grass, annual flowerbeds, santolina and duranta hedges, bushes, and carefully pruned trees. The side zone is more informal, with flowering trees and perennial bushes characteristic of the Middle East, including drought-tolerant, low-maintenance succulents, oleanders, rosemary, lantana, olive, jacaranda, coral, and plumeria." The Terraces represent the Báb and His first eighteen followers.

Due (in part) to the unique topography of the Terraces, access will be limited to a set number of visitors at any given time. Admission is free, but you should call ahead to reserve a place in one of the free guided tours.

For reservations, call 04-831-3131.

The Terraces are open year-round from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM (7:00 PM in summer), with the exception of nine Baha'i holidays a year.

Five of the days on which the Terraces will be closed are: March 21, April 21, April 29, May 2 and May 29. The additional four days, change from year to year, in 2001 they are July 26 and November 15.

Many have eagerly awaited the opening of this new addition to Haifa, which should be well worth a special trip.

Additional Resources:

The Official Terraces Web Site (with a Web Cast of the opening)

Baha'i in Israel - From's Israeli Culture

The Shrine of the Baha'U'llah (Acre)

More about the Baha'i Faith

Gems in Israel's Haifa Issue

©Copyright 2001, Israel Weekly

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