The Universal House of Justice has communicated the expansion and continuation of renovations and beautifications for existing and expanding Baha’i properties in Israel. Click to read the full letter here.
The BWC has been able to exchange some land north of Akka for a plot adjacent to the Mansion of Bahji. The current resident is the Israeli Military. There are continuing negotiations with the government for additional land exchanges adjacent to the Mansion of Mazra’ih and the Ridvan Garden.
There are renovation and beautification plans for the Ridvan Garden (in Israel) and well as Junayn Gardens, also frequented by Baha’u’llah (although much less frequently). I haven’t visited the Junayn Gardens but when I was in the Ridvan Garden I didn’t find anything that looked shaby or needed beautifying.
It was, to my eyes, a beautiful and relaxing place with little or no evidence of the hyper-manicured lawns and flowers of Mt. Carmel. In fact, I preferred its more rustic and natural look. I’m certainly no expert but it would seem to me that it was more historically accurate and in keeping with the conditions that were present at the time of Baha’u’llah. But then again, I don’t want to make assumptions because the UHJ hasn’t detailed what exactly they will be doing to “beautify” the Ridvan Garden.
The Shrine of the Bab will also receive attention with the installation of earthquake resistant support, the restoration or replacement of the dome tiles (gold plated) which have lost their shine due to exposure to the harsh elements of Haifa’s port city atmosphere and the opening of the remaining 3 chambers, behind the Bab’s resting place, to the visiting public and Baha’is. Presently this space is closed off to visitors and is being used for storage. This space was, curiously enough, used by Shoghi Effendi, to house temporarily the archives related to the Baha’i Faith.
Speaking of the archives, the International Archives Building is being fully restored and renovated both inside and out. I covered the reason for the restoration of the Archives building previously.
Since I wrote about the detrimental effect of Haifa’s polluted air, nothing has really changed. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised at all if within our lifetimes the BWC had to undertake a wholesale and complete restoration project to repair the damage it had wrought to the Arc buildings.
As you may have surmised by now, all of this will require money. So the UHJ is asking for donations through the NSAs and various Baha’i funds to finance these restoration, renovation and expansion projects.