Today, although there are 5 to 7 million followers in the world, there are only a few Bahá’í homes in the world and only one in North America. It is located near Chicago, Illinois. It is the largest and oldest surviving Bashi temple in the world. It is called “Western Mother Temple” and is officially called “Bahá’í House of the North American Continent”.
Construction began in 1921 and was completed in 1953, a few years after the Great Depression and World War II. The cladding is made of white Portland cement, using white and transparent quartz aggregates. It has won numerous design awards and is a major landmark in the Chicago area. In 1978, it was registered on the National Historic Site and designated as one of the Seven Mysteries of Illinois.
This unique structure symbolizes unity and prayer. Each temple has a unique design, but all temples follow a consistent theme. The garden area is surrounded by nine buildings in a majestic dome, which symbolizes the unity of all people and religion.
So how did Illinois get the only Bashi temple in the world? The idea of building this church was proposed in the early 1900s. Around the same time, the Chicago Bahee Group tried to build the first church in present-day Turkmenistan. Chicago native Hills Knight True recently visited Baha’i leader Abdul Bahá’í on an overseas pilgrimage. He was lucky enough to build a place of worship and was suggested to build a place of worship in a quiet place near Lake Michigan.