|Before His passing, Bahá'u'lláh indicated that the world headquarters for the Faith He
had founded would be in the Haifa/Acre area in the north of what is now Israel. The region
today is home to the spiritual and administrative heart of the Bahá'í Faith.
The final resting places of both Bahá'u'lláh and the Báb
are in the region. The gold-dome Shrine of the Báb sits on the
slopes of Mt. Carmel in Haifa while the majestic Shrine of
Bahá'u'lláh is located just across the bay at Bahji, outside of Acre. Situated in
the heart of magnificent gardens, these two spots are the most holy places in the Bahá'í
The administrative center of the Bahá'í Faith is in Haifa.
Located on Mt. Carmel, just above the Shrine of the Báb and at the top of an arc-shaped
path in a monument garden, is the Seat of the Universal House of Justice, the
international governing body of the Bahá'í Faith. From this building and others nearby,
a staff of more than 500 people from 50 countries administers the international affairs of
the Bahá'í world community.
From Haifa, information is transmitted back and forth between
national Bahá'í communities; international goals and plans are disseminated; social and
economic development projects are monitored; statistics are collected and kept; and
international funds are managed. There is also an international archives building, within
which are housed relics, writings and artifacts associated with the lives of the Báb, Bahá'u'lláh, and `Abdu'l-Bahá.
In the early 1990s, a new phase of construction was launched,
reflecting the rapid expansion of the Faith. Ground was broken for a series of terraces
extending above and below the Shrine of the Báb and for several other new institutional
buildings in a program expected to cost more than $150 million before it is completed.
Each year, thousands of pilgrims come from around the world
to pray and meditate in the Shrines, and to visit the other Bahá'í holy places in the
Haifa/Acre area. These pilgrimages, which bring together Bahá'ís from all over the
world, serve further to give social cohesion and integration to the Faith.