Introduction to Iranian Gardens
Iranian Gardens and their fame have made them popular all over the world and every year lovers of art and architecture have visited these orchards. Gardens that are built either in the heart of the desert or in the greenery of forests with outstanding architecture. The construction which has remained from ancient times to the present day and has retained their originality. This structure consists of three cases:
- Located in the passage of water – that is main element of all these gardens.
- Surrounded by high walls
- Having a summer mansion and a swimming pool.
These types of gardens are recreational areas designed for the climate of Persia and are unmatched in the world. The Persian Garden is not just a building but a civilization. The 2,000-year-old civilization of the people who have created worldly paradises greenery with a spectacular technology in the heart of one of the driest climates in the world for generations. Over the years, evolving and creating stunning art and unique architecture, has been reasons for Iranian Gardens to be listed in UNESCO World Heritage sites in 2011.
The 9 Iranian Gardens which have been inscribed among many other gardens in Persia as UNESCO World Heritage Sites are:
- The Ancient Gardens of Pasargadae
- Eram Garden of Shiraz
- Dowlat Abad Garden of Yazd
- Finn Garden of Kashan
- Shahazdeh (Prince) Garden of Mahan-Kerman
- Bagh-e Abas Abad Garden of Behshahr
- Isfahan Forty Columns (Chehel Sotoun) Garden
- Pahlavan pour Mehriz Garden
- Akbarieh Garden Birjand
Pasargadae Garden is one of the sections of the Pasargadae Complex which is considered as the architectural root and the original pattern of Persian gardening. Based on the evidence in the historical texts, Cyrus the Great personally explained to the workers not only the way to build it, but also the way trees were arranged. This large garden also consists of other small buildings. Many considered it as “a garden in the heart of a garden” project. This type of construction continued in the Islamic period and became pattern of all gardens. It is suggested that the garden had two resting buildings, various trees, colorful flowers, and birds, all of which Cyrus chose according to his taste and opinion. Historical and archeological evidence analyzed by archaeologists, show that all buildings in Pasargadae Plain were built in a regular spatial structure and surrounded by a large garden. One of the interesting points of this charming garden is its water circulation system in the rocky atmosphere. It is called as fountain. Unfortunately, today there is nothing left of the splendor and beauty of this garden.
In the heart of Shiraz, the city of orange spring, in which splendid gardens are placed. These magnificent gardens have faced so many things by itself through history, still maintaining its authority, this lush garden is called Eram. In Persian, Eram means paradise. The constituent elements of the garden have joined hands to create a magnificent paradise in Shiraz. There is no information about the date of construction of this garden, but the existence of the name of this garden in travelogues related to the tenth and 11th centuries A.H. indicates the existence of this garden at that time. In the middle of the garden there is a building that attracts attentions. The two upper floors of the building have columns inspired by Persepolis and evoke its beauty and splendor. The three-sided structure of this building originates from Safavid and Qajar period architecture and pictures of Nasser al-Din Shah Qajar, stories of Ferdowsi and Nizami including Solomon and Queen Sheba, Rostam Pahlavan, Khosrow and Shirin and Yusuf and Zulaikha and ancient Persian literature and religious stories. You see some of the designs on the body of this building that will immerse you in pleasure. The stunning shape of this architecture can also be seen in the Narenjestan Ghavam mansion.
Shahzadeh (Prince) Garden
The Shahzadeh or Shazdeh Garden is the name of a green place in the city of Mahan, Kerman province, shining like a green jewel in the heart of the Lut desert. The date of creation of the Shazdeh Garden dates back to the Qajar period and was built by the order of Mohammad Hassan Khan Sardar Irvani and the building inside it by the order of Abdul Hamid Mirza Naser Al-Dowlah, the ruler of Kerman. This historic orchard include of an intended entrance. In addition to its adorable nature, the mansions and pavilions in this garden also have a special beauty in this place. Shazdeh Garden include amazing fountains, a variety of fruit trees, and water-filled ponds. One of the best buildings in this orchard is the main pavilion at the end of the garden and above which is a linear building located at the entrance of the flower house and consists of two floors. The upper floor of which is intended for reception and living. This building is also an eye-catching historical monument.
Bagh-e Abbas Abad Garden
Bagh-e Abbas Abad historical complex is one of the most picturesque orchards in northern Persia, located in the heart of a forest near the city of Behshahr in Mazandaran province. This worthwhile complex was built by the order of Shah Abbas I, the fifth Safavid king. Abbas Abad Garden is located on a natural hill, which was a success for Safavid engineers in creating a three-story stepped flower house on this hill and building a magnificent mansion on the highest part of it. Like manyIranian Gardens, the use of symmetry in the architecture of this orchard can be seen, which adds to its beauty. One of the interesting features of this orchard is its paving roads, which are located in parts of this vast complex. There are watchtowers, north and south grounds, dams and water flow control towers, pottery workshops, and three sections that have been discovered in this historic site until this day. One of the most interesting parts of this flower house is the lake that consists of a building in its heart.
Isfahan Chehel Sutun (Forty Columns ) Garden
Isfahan Chehel Sutun is one of the most delightful flower house in Persia and Isfahan tourist attractions. Everyone who comes to Chehel Sutun is fascinated by the architecture of the palace and the beauty of the orchard at first sight. Chehel Sutun Palace is located at the end of a large basin. A pond where you see the reflection of the whole building and the trees around it. The sound of birds and the soft light of the sun shining through the trees create a soothing atmosphere, a calm that accompanies you for a long time after leaving Isfahan. The flower house covers an area of 67,000 square meters and has its greenery and freshness from sycamore and fruit trees. When you hear the name Chehel Sutun, everyone remembers a mansion with magnificent columns and imagines this palace in your mind, but when you get close to the mansion and the grandeur of its high, fascinating wooden columns, you just realize that this palace only include twenty columns! So where does the number forty come from?!
The number forty comes from the reflection of their role in the pool water.
The palace dates back to the reign of Shah Abbas I of Safavid times. In its famous historical inscription, Chehel Sotun Palace has been introduced as the happiest building in the world. The 18-column hall, the Mirror Hall, the magnificent decorations, the gilding, and the paintings of the Kingdom Hall are the most stunning parts of it.
Akbarieh Garden is located in Birjand (Khorasan Province) and dates back to Zandieh and early Qajar periods. With its towering and dense trees and two impressive mansions, this orchard is located in a mountainous bed with brick walls. Three sides are enclosed and these days it is one of the loveliest tourist attractions of South Khorasan province. The architectural form of this flower house is Persian, but there it is also combined with Russian and Islamic styles which shows a new modern style of its time. The monuments in this garden are: Heshmat-of-Molk mansion (the oldest building is the orchard, which consists of two floors and 17 rooms), the central mansion, or the ceremonies (which are two-story, and all over it with lattice decorations, inlays, with stained glass and decorations and the plaster is full of Islamic and geometric designs ). The service spaces and museums are also located inside the garden, each displaying a leaf of the history and culture of this land. These museums include: Birjand Archaeological Museum, Birjand Anthropology Museum, Khorasan Puppet, and Culture Museum.
Dowlat Abad Garden
Dowlat Abad Garden is one of the most original Iranian Gardens, which was built in the late Afshari period by the order of the ruler and the governor of Yazd. Dowlat Abad Garden has been a residential and governmental orchard and include two separate sections: an outdoor orchard for government ceremonies, sports ceremonies and city administration, and an indoor flower house for private use and accommodation. The most famous windbreak in Yazd is known as the octagonal windbreak of Dowlat Abad Garden, and the porch or summer windbreak is the most enchanting flower house mansion. In this building, the wind and water flowing in the pools become one, and the cool air that passes under the world’s tallest brick windshield is transferred to the royal palace and halls, which is why they chose the name of summer building or summer windbreak for it. Other Iranian Gardens have an important role in water; water that was supplied from the historical aqueduct of Dowlat Abad. This aqueduct is one of the most important and longest aqueducts in Yazd.
Fin Garden or Shah Kashan Garden is a green, breathtaking area that is completely separated from the city space and is covered by high walls. The presence of aqueducts has provided the water needed for this orchard and the trees and vegetation will continue to live, and we’ll be able to see tall and deciduous trees in this orchard. The flower house we see these days was destroyed in the earthquake hundreds of years ago and fortunately was rebuilt in the period Safavid. During the Safavid and Qajar eras, monuments were built inside the flower house. The buildings of Sardar mansion, royal palace, pavilion, Karim khani secluded courtyard, and Soleimani spring are the most attractive parts of the garden. So they have become the most delightful Iranian Gardens. The assassination of Amir Kabir – the Prime Minister of Persia – which is one of the most important events in the history of Persia has taken place in the bathroom of this garden and has made it famous. There are 11 sycamore trees in the orchard, most of which are between 100 and 470 years old. One of the interesting elements of this garden is the pond where people ask for their wishes by throwing coins in it and believe that by doing so, these wishes will be fulfilled.
Pahlavan Pour Garden
Pahlavan Pour Garden is an orchard leftover from the late Qajar period, which has been famous since ancient times due to the flow of water inside. Most of the water in this flower house is supplied directly from the Hassan Abad aqueduct and this water does not go directly to any of the orchards in the region except Pahlavan Pour Garden. The large and old sycamore trees are among the attractions of this flower house, which are located on both sides of the main atmosphere of the orchard. Many experts believe that Pahlavan Pour Garden, architecturally shows the changes in the style of ancient Persian gardening to modern gardening of the time, and is of particular importance in this regard. The entrance complex, the pavilion building, the winter house building, the caretaker building, the bathroom and the kitchen are the different parts of this complex. It is interesting to know that the entrance of the orchard consists of decorations similar to the decorations of the Zandieh period, but the date of its construction dates back to the Qajar period!
UNESCO World Heritage Criteria of Iranian Gardens
Criterion (i): The Persian Garden shows the creativity of human beings in the past. The geometric design of these orchards is such that the general space of the flower house is usually divided into 4 parts, from which the phrase Chahar Bagh comes. Iranian Gardens have a complex water management system that, in addition to choosing the right plants and the location of the orchard, also proves their engineering genius and design. The Persian Garden has the same terrestrial concept of paradise that has created a unique contrast in the desert environment.
Criterion (ii): In the elements of the Persian Garden, there are signs of an exchange of values between different nations, which has inspired the design of the flower house in West Asia, the Arab countries, and even Europe. In all these orchards, symmetrical geometry used in the architecture and unique water supply system of Iranian Gardens can be seen. The word campus in Persian refers to the flower houses behind the wall and is the root of the word Paradise in English.
Criterion (iii): The Persian Garden is the only element that shows the 2,500-year-old cultural developments in Persia and the Middle East. Throughout its development, the Persian Garden has played an important role in all social and cultural occasions and is almost the most important element of many private properties, palaces, public buildings, religious and charitable centers, tombs, parks, and squares.
Criterion (iv): The Persian Garden is a unique example of a flower house that uses natural and human elements in its design, and the important achievements of Persian culture are gathered in an artistic concept that is in harmony with nature. Certainly, the Persian Garden is a special example of orchard design that has spread all over the world.
Criterion (vi): The Persian Garden is also directly related to the unique cultural monuments of the world. For example, in Persian poetry and literature, and the works of poets such as Hafez, Saadi, and Ferdowsi, this connection can be seen. The Persian Garden is also the most important source of inspiration in the design of Persian carpets and fabrics, miniature paintings, architectural forms, and so on. In the Avesta book (the holy book of Zoroastrians), the plants of the Persian Garden are praised as one of the four natural elements (earth, paradise, water, and plants). The four flower houses that have been used extensively in Persian are the mythical embodiment of nature and the world in the minds of the ancient Persian.