The Bahai holy site in Haifa reopened Tuesday following two-and-a-half years of renovations.
· The Shrine of the Bab, a UN-designated World Heritage site, reopened following a $6 million renovation, which included covering the temple’s dome with 11,790 new gold-glazed porcelain tiles.
· The structure has been refitted and even strengthened to withstand an earthquake.
· The Shrine is in honour of Bab, who was venerated as a prophet and later buried in the Mediterranean port city of Haifa.
· The project was overseen by a Bahai engineer from California, Saeid Samadi, who was born in Iran, where Bahais have long suffered persecution for their beliefs and where the Bahai faith was declared illegal after the 1979 Islamic revolution.
· The Bahai faith, which has roots in 19th century Iran and has between 5 and 6 million adherents worldwide, is one of Israel’s lesser known religious groups.
· It has been reported that as many as 750,000 people visited the Haifa shrine last year.