I recently returned from a most special visit to the Bahai World Centre for a 9 Day Pilgrimage with my family. I thought instead of sharing all about the trip in one blog that I would share it in parts and with photos. As the saying goes, ‘A picture is worth a 1000 words’ and I felt it would be best to share more photos and fewer words.
One of the highlights of our Pilgrimage was visiting the cell where Baha’u’llah (the Prophet-founder of the Baha’i Faith) was kept a prisoner upon His arrival to the prison-city of Akka in 1868 which was part of the Ottoman Empire in the 19th Century. One felt the sadness and a glimmering of the suffering that was felt in that prison. I was so moved to be there and to experience being in that spot and to look out the window of the cell to see what Baha’u’llah may have seen. While we were there, I heard some chanting – a Muslim call to prayer – just outside the cell which took me back in time as I closed my eyes and imagined what it may have been like to be alive then.
I had the bounty of being in that cell all alone and was in awe as I was able to sing a couple of prayers. What joy to be able to sing as I know how music and chanting was so well-loved by Baha’u’llah. Tears streamed down my face as I felt so honored to be able to sing alone and from the depths of my heart. My voice echoed in the room which created such a mystical feeling… It was for Him that I chanted. As I turned to open the door of the cell to leave (I didn’t want to but had to catch up with the rest of the group), I found it was locked! I was locked in!! What irony I thought – to be locked in the very cell where Baha’u’llah was imprisoned for over 2 years! I panicked for a moment but then realized it was a gift as I could say some more prayers and meditate longer. Just then, my husband magically opened the door and let me out. I think I can say that was one of the most precious experiences of the whole trip.
The two windows farthest right on the second floor show the room that Bahá’u’lláh occupied in the prison.
When He first arrived in ‘Akká (Acre), Bahá’u’lláh and His family were confined in this prison on the edge of the Mediterranean Sea.
Historical photograph of the interior of the citadel of ‘Akká (Acre), Israel
Inside the cell of Baha'u'llah after the completion of its restoration. (2004)