The Bahá`í World Centre is the name given to the spiritual and administrative centre of the Bahá`í Faith.The World Centre consists of the Shrine of Bahá`u`lláh near Acre, Israel, the Shrine of the Báb and its gardens on Mount Carmel in Haifa, Israel, and various other buildings in the area including the Arc buildings.
Much of the international governance and coordination of the Bahá`í Faith occurs at the Bahá`í World Centre. These include decisions that affect the religion on a global level, and the study and translation of the Bahá`í holy writings. The Universal House of Justice, representing the supreme governing body of the Bahá`í Faith, resides in Haifa. The Bahá`í World Centre is also the current destination for Bahá`í pilgrimage.
The Bahá`í World Centre has its historical origins in the area that was once Ottoman Syria.This dates back to the 1850s and 1860s when the Shah of Iran and the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, ‘Abdu’l-‘Aziz, successively exiled Bahá`u`lláh from Iran to the fortress of Acre for lifetime incarceration. Many of the locations at the Bahá`í World Centre, including the terraces and the Shrine of the Báb which constitute the north slope of Mount Carmel were inscribed on the World Heritage List in July 2008.
In 1963 the first Universal House of Justice was elected, with its seat in Haifa, and since then the number of support staff in Haifa has grown to several hundred support staff from sixty countries.The increase in staff was due to the international growth of the Bahá`í community and the increased range of work which is done at the Bahá`í World Centre; the staff include the House of Justice`s specialized departments including the secretariat, research, finance, statistics and maintenance of the gardens and buildings, as well as staff for the other Bahá`í bodies such as the Office for Socio-Economic Development and the International Teaching Centre.