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The Oldest Bahá’í Temple in the World, Outside Chicago

- Hye Sung

The Bahá’í House of Worship, outside of Chicago in Wilmette, Illinois, is the oldest surviving Bahá’í House of Worship in the world, and the only one in the United States. Bahá’ís from all over the world funded this construction of the temple, which had its ground-breaking ceremony in 1912. The construction of the temple took much longer than expected and was finally dedicated in 1953.

So who are the Bahá’ís and why is this temple worth making a part of the agenda on your next trip to Chicago?

The Bahá’í Faith is a religion that stresses the unity of God and humankind, and calls its adherents to prayer, meditation, and service. It was founded in the 19th century in present-day Iran by Bahá’u’lláh, a man who is believed to be a messenger from God and the fulfillment of various prophecies from the world’s major religions. In some parts of the world, Bahá’ís have been persecuted—and yet, this religious community continues to grow. Both celebrities Justin Baldoni and Rainn Wilson are adherents, and have spoken a bit about their faith. In this video, Baldoni shares about his spirituality and community.

Here Rainn Wilson, or Dwight from the Office, explains his own spiritual journey, from his ecumenical childhood experiences to learning balancing and even integrating his profession and faith.

And why should you visit the temple in Illinois?

The temple is surrounded by gardens and fountains, and its architecture includes domes, pillars, intricate details, and is supposedly deeply tied to the mystical science of numerology.

I mean, just look at it:


Did I mention it was on Lake Michigan?


Maybe bike along Lake Michigan and make a stop at the temple? They have bike racks.




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