“Kind of Like a Theme Park… But a Holy One”

The recent completion of the renovation of the Shrine of the Bab has lead to Time magazine to feature a short article on the Baha’i World Center in Haifa and its gardens:

Stepping into the gardens of the Shrine of the Bab is like entering a hallucination. They rise in steps all the way up the mountainside above Haifa’s downtown, and at the midway point, at midmorning, the clear light off the Mediterranean combines with the precise efforts of 150 gardeners to achieve a combination of lucid depth and dazzling color.

The Little Religion That Persists: The Baha’i in Israel

The Time magazine journalist talks to Rob Weinberg who is one of the BWC’s external communication people as well as to several regular people visiting the gardens.

Jonas Mejer, a student visiting from Copenhagen says:

“It’s kind of like a theme park, where they’re keeping everything ‘just so’.?But it’s a holy place.”

I chuckled after reading that because it displays a child-like innocence and honesty. My own impression after visiting the gardens was that they were maintained and manicured to an inch of their lives.

From afar they were much more beautiful than from up close. It is difficult to explain or perhaps I lack the eloquence of Jonas but there was a cosmetic vibe to it that didn’t sit well with me. I suppose the House of Justice is only trying to maintain the high standards set by Shoghi Effendi when he, with his own hands, created the gardens with much effort and sacrifice.

You won’t have to look far to guess what one of my most favorite spots was in the gardens (look up!).

Here is a short video from August 2010 from CNN.com talking with Rob Weinberg: