On May 22, some 35-hundred people from all over the world will witness the opening of the new terraces of the Bahai's temple at the foot of Mount Carmel in Haifa, Israel.
The Terraces of the Shrine of the Bahai is a project that begun ten years ago, that has transformed the ancient barren face of the mountain into 19 majestic terraced gardens cascading down the length of the mountain.
The Bahai Faith, founded in 1844, is the most recent of the world's monotheistic religions.
Its founder, Bah 'u'll h, spent the later years of His life in the Holy Land as a prisoner of the Ottoman Turks, and the Faith's administrative and spiritual headquarters were established in what are today the twin cities of Acre and Haifa of modern Israel.
The Bahai's have built world-class gardens to adorn the golden-domed Shrine of the B b, the second most holy spot of their Faith.
Thousands of people are visiting those gardens where a contemplative space in which ordered flower beds, fountains, and flowing water give way to natural perimeters of trees and shrubs.
They are an oasis of tranquillity in the heart of a bustling port city, which one of the main was moved by the Municipality of Haifa by 2 meters on order to align with the terraces.
According to the architect of the gardens, Fariborz Sahba, who also designed the famous Lotus Temple in New Delhi, those terraces should aim to touch the spirit.
"The most important aspect of the direction of the design is to create spiritual gardens because it was not our aim to just have some beautiful gardens because it's so important that this is a place of pilgrimage, pilgrims from all over the world they come, it's their dream of their live to come and to spend some time and have that spiritual experience. The terraces are supposed to, because it's an approach to the shrine, it's suppose to prepare them for this encounter, this spiritual encounter."
SUPER CAPTION : Fariborz Sahba, architect of the terraces
In the face of renewed persecution of the Bahai's in Iran, the worldwide community gathered the necessary financial and human resources, and the mountain was reshaped.
The Terraces now stretch a kilometer up the mountain, reaching a height of 225 meters (738 feet), and their landscape spans the mountain from 60 meters (197 feet) to 400 meters (1,312 feet).
In order to create a continuous pedestrian pathway, two bridges have been constructed over cross streets.
The terraces and gleaming white marble administrative buildings nearby have transformed the face of the mountain.
The project was completed over a 10-year period at a cost of 250 million (m) U-S dollars.
It was funded from voluntary contributions from members of the worldwide Bahai community who now number over 5 million.
"Because the Bahais accept the divine origin of Islam of Judaism of Christianity, we accept that all of these religions come from the same God and have the same basic purpose and they all have a special connection to this land, so in a way, the Bahai faith is the fourth major monotheistic religion that has his Holy shrine in the holy Land. And it's just a way of renewing the reality of this land and you know, we have taken this mountainside that was bare and rocky and it has flowered and this is apart of I think, the fulfilment of some of the vision in the old scriptures".
SUPER CAPTION: Glenn Fullmer, Senior information officer
For more than a century, Bahai communities around the globe have been working to break down barriers of prejudice between peoples and have collaborated with other like-minded groups to promote the model of a global society.
At the heart of their belief is the conviction that humanity is a single people with a common destiny.
In the words of Bah 'u'll h, the Founder of our Faith, "The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens."