Saturday, August 24, 2013

Behai Gardens, Haifa . . .

The Behai Gardens and
Shrine of the Bab.
Today is Shabbat, so most of the stores are closed. We did notice the city buses running, so it's possible to get around if we wanted to. As we walked to the Bahai Gardens,  only a few blocks from our lodgings, we went through a Christian neighborhood. A number of stores and cafe's were open for business, so there is some activity in the city.

As we neared the Gardens, one can see the UNESCO Place for Tolerance and Peace just across the street. The Garden is a series of 18 terraces. In the center is The Shrine of the Bab. The shrine is in celebration of Siyyid 'Ali'-Muhammad who, in 1844, announced that he had been sent by G-d to prepare humanity for a New Age and the imminent appearance of another Messenger. The Shrine is his burial place. An interesting aspect of the Baha'i faith is that it has no clergy. Its affairs are administered by a series of "elected councils" at the local, national and international levels. Additionally, they take no donations to support its "World Centre". All of the costs associated with the World Centre are supported by voluntary contributions from Bahai faithful around the world.

Linda with Haifa below
the first level of the Garden
Visitors are allowed to enter the garden free of charge. There are no fees, and nothing is sold. We climbed a series of stairs to the first level where one sees a commanding view of Haifa below and the Garden above. The grounds are beautiful with manicured lawns, cultivated flowers and water-falls. Surrounding the property are high-rise apartment buildings, so the residents have a "nice and quiet neighbor". Because of Shabbat there was very little traffic on the street below and except for the water-fountains, it was quiet and serene.

We plan to spend a quiet day around the Inn until Shabbat ends at sunset. Many activities will pick up again and we'll see what peaks our interest.

6 p.m. -- We ventured out for a "last meal" in Haifa. As we walked along Jaffa Street, we noticed the shops and cafe's opening. It was very near sundown and as Shabbat ends, the city comes to life. Once on Ben Gurion Street, we found an interesting restaurant called Havana Plus. After looking over the menu, we decided to stay and enjoy a meal and conversation.

So, tomorrow we head off to Tel Aviv in the morning for our last full day in Israel. It'll be nice to get back to the "beach town". I want to do some final shopping, so the Ha Carmel Market is the perfect place for buying the last of our "souvenirs".

Ciao for now. . .