By Steve Paschal

Medium: Oil on canvas

Quote / Inspiration

This painting depicts the Khan-i-Avamid (an inn) in the fortress city of Akka, which lay directly across the bay of Haifa. Built in 1785 as a Caravanserai, just north of the sea gate, the Khan-i-Avamid was a two-story building surrounding a square with a fountain. The ground floor served as warehouse rooms for the storage of goods and sometimes for animals; the upper rooms were fitted out for guests. The inner court was marked by a colonnade of heavy gate pillars taken from the ruins of Roman Caesarea, hence its name: Khan-i-Avamid – the Inn of the Pillars. It still stands today. During the days when Bahá’u’lláh and His family were consigned to the prison fortress in Akka, and later held successively in three private houses, the majority of the Bahá’ís were sent to the Khan-i-Avamid. There they occupied principally the eastern and southern wings of the upper floor. In later years, when conditions improved somewhat, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, son of Bahá’u’lláh, would visit the Khan and is said to have regularly distributed alms to the poor. And it is reported that on certain feast days the Master, as ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was called, was host to the children of Akka, offering them refreshments, including sherbet placed in the basin of the fountain. One of the rooms of the inn was frequently used by the Master, who would meet and greet guests and pilgrims there. Two rooms were routinely occupied by pilgrims, and the Khan-i-Avamid was, therefore the first pilgrim house in the Holy Land. The painting shows ‘Abdu’l-Bahá greeting some of the early Bahá’í pilgrims near the place of the fountain surrounded by the daily activity in the square.