Persian Gardens

yasaman abbasi

Persian Gardens

Culture and identity in a society can be represented in the architecture and the meanings that comes with it.

In this sense, the architecture and design are the interfaces for transferring meaning and identity to the nation
and future generations.

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Persian gardens have been evolved through the history of the Persian Empire in regard to the culture and beliefs of the society.

Persian gardens are not only about geometries and shapes; but also manifest different design elements, each representing a specific symbol and its significance among the society.

The earliest evidence of Persian gardens was recorded in 600 B.C. at the Palace area in Pasargadae and dates back to the final years of the reign of Cyrus the Great (559-30 B.C.).

The garden was based on the Zoroastrian division of the universe into four parts, four seasons or the four elements; water, wind, soil, and fire (Karimi-Hakkak 1998).

A mystical feeling for flowers and a love of gardens are integral parts of ancient Persian gardens. The Persian garden is a manifestation of supreme values and concepts and is well-known as a bridge connecting the two worlds of matter and meaning.

The philosophical design concept of Persian gardens is believed to be rooted in the four sacred elements of water, wind, fire, and soil.

The geometrical design of Persian gardens has been reflected in Persian carpets, potteries, and visual arts. The other distinctive feature of Persian gardens.

Which contributes to the introspective characteristics of ancient Persian people, is the wide application of thick brick walls, which surround the entire rectangular plan of the garden.

Other traits of Persian gardens include the application of perpendicular angles and straight lines, ponds and pools to supply the water and highlight the scenic landscape view.

Simultaneous use of evergreen and deciduous trees, planting of various types of plants and consideration of focal a pavilion known as Kooshk.

The purpose of designing gardens in Persia was not only limited to providing green spaces for the inhabitants, but also creating the opportunity for further interaction between the human and nature.

As well as creating various ranges of functions (Gharipour 2011) and promoting Persian culture via various design elements (Müller-Wille 2001).

In fact, Persian gardens are not only about beautiful geometries and shapes; but they manifest different design elements, each representing a specific symbol.

For instance, Shahzadeh-Mahan Garden, Fin Garden, and Chehel Sotun Garden, all of which are located in semi-desert and desert lowland zones near to the vast deserts of Iran: the Dasht-e Kavir and the Dasht-e Lut.

Persian gardens were designed with a sacred geometry representing and illustrating a union of the mortal/material world and the eternal universe (Khansari et al. 1998).

Therefore, the geometric structure can be considered as one of the most prominent features of Persian gardens.

The initial structure of Persian gardens was based on a geometrical quadripartite division with a pavilion in its intersection.

The general idea of this formation was based on the pre-Islamic Iranian division of the earth into four quarters, which may have been inspired by the geometrical motifs of Mesopotamia and Sindh Valley civilizations (Massoudi 2009).

During the Islamic period, the geometric quartered pattern of Persian gardens became more reinforced by the belief of four heavenly streams; as it was similar to the image of the heaven in the Quran (Mansouri 2011).

Therefore, the general pattern of most Persian gardens consisted of a rectangular space which is quartered by intersecting streams and pathways.

The common irrigation system of the time has been known as another effective factor in the formation of geometric garden structure besides the impact of Persian beliefs and morals (Naghizadeh 2013).

The structure and spirit of Persian gardens have been registered in the UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

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