Bahai News - THE BAHA'I FAITH COMES OF AGE\COMPLETION OF THE TERRACES OF LIGHT WILL BE CELEBRATED WORLDWIDE
THE BAHA'I FAITH COMES OF AGE\COMPLETION OF THE TERRACES OF LIGHT
WILL BE CELEBRATED WORLDWIDE
BYLINE: ROBERT SEGUIN, SPECIAL TO THE FREE PRESS
MEMO: Robert Seguin is a London resident.
At dusk on Tuesday at the foot of Mount Carmel, a feature oratorio by Lasse
Thoresen, titled Terraces of Light, will accompany the illumination of 19
garden terraces climbing a kilometre up the side of Mount Carmel, building
light upon light like strings of pearls draped around the illuminated Shrine
of the Bab.
This shrine, a gold-domed structure set as a jewel in the center of the
terraces, currently Haifa's sixth largest tourist attraction, was first
completed in 1953 by Canadian architect William Sutherland Maxwell and has
been, since then, a dominate feature of Haifa's Mount Carmel skyline.
The century-long transformation of this once-barren mountain, sacred to
Jews, Christians, Muslims and Baha'is, has been integrated as a key element
in the bustling port city of Haifa's urban renewal campaign. Together with
the terraces, they create a three-kilometre- long pedestrian walkway -- one
of the most attractive urban developments in the Mediterranean region.
The terraces have been designed by the Canadian architect Fariborz Sahba.
The Baha'i Administrative World Center, adjacent to the terraces, have been
designed by another Canadian architect, Hussein Amanat. Sahba designed the
terrace gardens using the latest in water management, pest control and
ecological sensitivity to create an atmosphere of peace and serenity for
The gardens and terraces, as an approach to a sacred place, are treated with
as much reverence as the shrine they embrace. Recycled water flowing down
the mountain drowns out the noise of the city, to the area creating an
atmosphere of dignity and peace befitting a holy place.
The shrine of the Bab on the side of Mount Carmel has the religious
significance of being the resting place for the martyred forerunner
of the Baha'i faith, named Siyyid 'Ali-Muhammad, known as the Bab
(Arabic for "gate"). The Bab's Shrine on Mount Carmel is the second
most sacred spot for Baha'is the world over. In 1891, on the slopes
of Mount Carmel, Baha'u'llah, founder of the Baha'i faith, pointed
out the spot to be the permanent resting place for the remains of the Bab.
The Bab was born in Shiraz, Iran in 1819. The Bab founded a distinct
religion, the Babi faith, which had its own ordinances and mystical and
doctrinal works that included; the spiritual and moral reformation of society,
uplifting the station of women and improving the lot of the poor. He also
promoted education and useful sciences for all. The main theme addressed by
the Bab and His teachings was the imminent appearance of another Messenger
from God. This second messenger, Baha'u'llah (Arabic for "glory of God")
would usher in the age of peace
and justice promised in Judaism, Christianity, Islam and the other
religions of the world. The Bab's mission was short, only six years,
during which thousands of Babis, exhibiting great heroism, were
tortured and killed for their beliefs.
After three years of imprisonment, the Bab was publicly executed
by a firing squad in the city of Tabriz, Iran, on July 9, 1850. The
remains of the Bab, which were cast into a ditch after his execution,
were rescued and hidden in homes and cellars throughout Persia for
more than 50 years. Eventually, His body was transported to Haifa
and interred in 1909.
For Baha'is, the completion of the terraces is concurrent with
the faith's full emergence as a world community and the realization
of a century-long dream to create a spiritual and administrative centre,
which will befittingly represent the religion, long persecuted in
the land of its birth, Iran.
CELEBRATIONS IN LONDON
Celebration of the Declaration of the Bab, with excerpts of the
Vision TV broadcast, will take place May 23 at 7:30 p.m. at the Kiwanis
Centre (Riverside Drive at Wharncliffe Road). Everyone is welcome.
London Baha'is who have served at the Baha'i World Centre will be
ILLUSTRATION: photo\At dusk next Tuesday, Baha'is representing more
than 200 countries andterritories will gather at the foot of Mount
Carmel in Haifa, Israel, to openthe Terraces of the Shrine of the
Bab, a project begun 10 years ago that hastransformed the ancient
barren face of the mountain into 19 majestic terracedgardens cascading
down the length of the mountain.
©Copyright 2001, The London Free Press
Page last updated/revised 052701
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