• Keywords: Iran, Cultural Landscape, The Persian Garden, Pasargad, Eram, Pahlebanpur, Dowlatabad, Fin, Chehel Sotun, Akbarieh, Abbasabad, Shahzadeh Mahan, Shazdeh.

1. OFFICIAL CLASSIFICATIONS AND CATEGORIES

1.1 National and International Classification Lists

The Persian Garden was registered on UNESCO’s World Heritage List on Monday (June 26th). It is classified as a Cultural Landscape by UNESCO, date of inscription: 2011, criteria: (i)(ii)(iii)(iv)(vi), property : 716 ha and buffer zone: 9,740 ha, ref: 1372. Some of the gardens that compose this Cultural Landscape are also classified as Cultural Landscapes by themselves by Med-O-Med (Inventory of Cultural Landscapes, Phase 1, 2011), as follows: – Bagh-e-Fin, Category 1, Historical Gardens, identification code: HG-IR- 13-01. -Shazdeh-ye- Mahan Garden, Category 1, Historical Gardens, identification code: HG-IR-14-01.

1.2. Cultural Landscape Category/Tipology

A landscape designed and created intentionally by human being
  • Garden
Organically evolved landscapes
Relict (or fossil) landscape

1.3. Description and Justification by Med-O-Med

Description

The Persian Garden consists of a collection of nine gardens, selected from various regions of Iran, which tangibly represent the diverse forms that this type of designed garden has assumed over the centuries and in different climatic conditions. They reflect the flexibility of the Chahar Bagh, or originating principle, of the Persian Garden, which has persisted unchanged over more than two millennia since its first mature expression was found in the garden of Cyrus the Great’s Palatial complex, in Pasargadae. Natural elements combine with manmade components in the Persian Garden to create a unique artistic achievement that reflects the ideals of art, philosophical, symbolic and religious concepts. The Persian Garden materialises the concept of Eden or Paradise on Earth. The perfect design of the Persian Garden, along with its ability to respond to extreme climatic conditions, is the original result of an inspired and intelligent application of different fields of knowledge, i.e. technology, water management and engineering, architecture, botany and agriculture. The notion of the Persian Garden permeates Iranian life and its artistic expressions: references to the garden may be found in literature, poetry, music, calligraphy and carpet design. These, in turn, have inspired also the arrangement of the gardens. The nine gardens are distributed in various regions of Iran, as follows: -Fars Province: 1. Pasargad 2. Eram -Yadz Province: 3. Pahlebanpur 4. Dowlatabad -Isfahan Province: 5. Fin 6. Chehel Sotun -Khorasan Province: 7. Akbarieh -Mazandaran Province: 8. Abbasabad -Kerman Province: 9. Shahzadeh Mahan (also known as Shazdeh) Med-O-Med agrees to UNESCO criteria to define the Persian Gardens as a Cultural Landscape in category 1.

2. NAME / LOCATION / ACCESSIBILITY

  • Current denomination The Persian Gardens.
  • Current denomination The Persian Gardens.
  • Original denomination The Persian Gardens.
  • Popular denomination The Persian Gardens.
  • Address: The Persian Garden consists of a collection of nine gardens, selected from various regions (6 provinces) of Iran.
  • Geographical coordinates: N30 10 0 E53 10 0
  • Area, boundaries and surroundings: Fars Province, Yadz Province, Isfahan Province, Khorasan Province, Mazandaran Province, Kerman Province.
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THE PERSIAN GARDEN CULTURAL LANDSCAPE (IRAN)

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THE PERSIAN GARDEN CULTURAL LANDSCAPE (IRAN) 30.166667, 53.166667 THE PERSIAN GARDEN CULTURAL LANDSCAPE (IRAN) (Directions)

3. LEGAL ISSUES

  • Owner: Iranian Government.
  • Body responsible for the maintenance: Iranian Government.

4. HISTORY

Persian gardens may originate as early as 4000 BCE. Decorated pottery of that time displays the typical cross plan of the Persian garden. The outline of the Pasargad Persian Garden, built around 500 BCE, is viewable today. During the reign of the Sassanids (third to seventh century CE), and under the influence of Zoroastrianism, water in art grew increasingly important. This trend manifested itself in garden design, with greater emphasis on fountains and ponds in gardens. During the Arab occupation, the aesthetic aspect of the garden increased in importance, overtaking utility. During this time, aesthetic rules that govern the garden grew in importance. An example of this is the chahār bāgh, a form of garden that attempts to emulate Eden, with four rivers and four quadrants that represent the world. The design sometimes extends one axis longer than the cross-axis, and may feature water channels that run through each of the four gardens and connect to a central pool. The invasion of Persia by the Mongols in the thirteenth century led to a new emphasis on highly ornate structure in the garden. The Mongol empire then carried a Persian garden tradition to other parts of their empire (notably India). Babur introduced the Persian garden to India. The now unkempt Aram Bāgh garden in Agra was the first of many Persian gardens he created. The Taj Mahal embodies the Persian concept of an ideal, paradise-like garden. The Safavid Dynasty (seventeenth to eighteenth century) built and developed grand and epic layouts that went beyond a simple extension to a palace and became an integral aesthetic and functional part of it. In the following centuries, European garden design began to influence Persia, particularly the designs of France, and secondarily that of Russia and the United Kingdom. Western influences led to changes in the use of water and the species used in bedding. Traditional forms and style are still applied in modern Iranian gardens. They also appear in historic sites, museums and affixed to the houses of the rich.

  • Oldest initial date /building and inauguration date: 4000 BCE.

5. GENERAL DESCRIPTION

5.1. Natural heritage

  • Heritage: Pleasure
  • Geography: High Mountain
  • Site topography: Natural
See point 5.2.4.
Land uses and economical activities:
Agriculture. Tourism. Research. Pleasure.
Summary of Landscapes values and characteristics:

The Persian Garden consists of a collection of nine gardens, selected from various regions of Iran. The Persian Garden materialises the concept of Eden or Paradise on Earth. There are gardens in Fars Province, in Yadz Province, in Isfahan Province, in Khorasan Province, in Mazandaran Province an in Kerman Province.

5.2. Cultural Heritage

A) Related to current constructions, buildings and art pieces in general

Architectonical elements /Sculptures:

The attributes that carry Outstanding Universal Value are the layout of the garden expressed by the specific adaptation of the Chahar Bagh within each component and articulated in the kharts or plant/flower beds, the water supply, management and circulation systems from the source to the garden, including all technological and decorative elements that permit the use of water for functional and aesthetic exigencies, the arrangement of trees and plants within the garden that contribute to its characterisation and specific micro-climate, the architectural components, including the buildings but not limited to these, that integrate the use of the terrain and vegetation to create unique manmade environments, the association with other forms of art that, in a mutual interchange, have been influenced by the Persian Garden and have, in turn, contributed to certain visual features and sound effects in the gardens.

Art pieces, artesany, furniture and other elements:

Iran’s dry heat makes shade important in gardens, which would be nearly unusable without it. Trees and trellises largely feature as biotic shade, pavilions and walls are also structurally prominent in blocking the sun. The heat also makes water important, both in the design and maintenance of the garden. Irrigation may be required, and may be provided via a form of underground tunnel called a qanat, that transports water from a local aquifer. Well-like structures then connect to the qanat, enabling the drawing of water. Alternatively, an animal-driven Persian well would draw water to the surface. Such wheel systems also moved water around surface water systems, such as those in the chahar bāgh style. Trees were often planted in a ditch called a juy, which prevented water evaporation and allowed the water quick access to the tree roots. The Persian style often attempts to integrate indoors with outdoors through the connection of a surrounding garden with an inner courtyard. Designers often place architectural elements such as vaulted arches between the outer and interior areas to open up the divide between them.

In the case of gardens: original and current style:
Gardens are not limited to a particular style, but often integrate different styles, or have areas with different functions and styles. Private Hayāt Publicly, it is a classical Persian layout with heavy emphasis on aesthetics over function. Man-made structures in the garden are particularly important, with arches and pools (which may be used to bathe). The ground is often covered in gravel flagged with stone. Plantings are typically very simple - such as a line of trees, which also provide shade. Privately, these gardens are often pool-centred and, again, structural. The pool serves as a focus and source of humidity for the surrounding atmosphere. There are few plants, often due to the limited water available in urban areas. Meidān Naghsh-i Jahan square, the charbagh Royal Square (Maidan) in Isfahan, constructed between 1598 and 1629. This is a public, formal garden that puts more emphasis on the biotic element than the hayāt and that minimises structure. Plants range from trees, to shrubs, to bedding plants, to grasses. Again, there are elements such as a pool and gravel pathways which divide the lawn. When structures are used, they are often built, as in the case of pavilions, to provide shade. Chahar Bāgh These gardens are private and formal. The basic structure consists of four quadrants divided by waterways or pathways. Traditionally, the rich used such gardens in work-related functions (such as entertaining ambassadors). These gardens balance structure with greenery, with the plants often around the periphery of a pool and path based structure. Park Much like many other parks, the Persian park serves a casual public function with emphasis on plant life. They provide pathways and seating, but are otherwise usually limited in terms of structural elements. The purpose of such places is relaxation and socialisation. Bāgh Like the other casual garden, the park, bāgh emphasizes the natural and green aspect of the garden. Unlike the park it is a private area often affixed to houses and often consisting of lawns, trees, and ground plants. The waterways and pathways stand out less than in the more formal counterparts and are largely functional.
Man-made elements related to water management:
  • Garden
One of the main features of Persian gardens is having great appetence for showing and performing water. In all parts of Persian gardens, it is tried to use the optimum of site, environment and recourses. Since Iran is in arid region, one of the goals of Persian gardens is to reach a better microclimate for habitants. Therefore, water streams seem to be necessary in those gardens. By strait canalling, the water wastages will be reduced dividing the garden in geometrical shapes. This geometrical design principle has continued in all periods.
Illuminating system:
Sunlight and its effects were an important factor of structural design in Persian gardens. Textures and shapes were specifically chosen by architects to harness the light.
B) Related to ancient remains

C) Related to intangible, social and spiritual values

5.3. Quality

Condition: environmental/ cultural heritage degradation:
Each garden is registered in the National Heritage List and therefore protected according to the Iranian legislation. Protection provisions established for the gardens and their 'buffer zones', defined according to the Iranian law in force, are also included in the Master Plans, the approval of which is issued by the Higher Council for Architecture and Urban Planning, in which sits also the Head of the Iranian Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organisation (ICHHTO). The existence of the National ICHHTO Base for the Persian Garden ensures that the management framework is one for the whole series, granting the coordination and harmonisation of strategies and objectives. The Management Plan includes objectives common to all component gardens of the series and a programme for strengthening presentation and promotion to the public has been developed.
Perspectives/Views/ Points of interest/Setting:

All the Persian Gardens already mentioned in this file.

6. VALUES

Tangible

  • Aesthetic
  • Architectonical
The main tangible values of "The Persian Garden Cultural Landscape" are: -Aesthetic: The gardens are like paradises. Their vegetation, architectonical desing, hydraulic components, etc., compose definitively a beatiful landscape that must be preserved. -Architectonical: The Persian gardens exhibits an important interchange of human values, having been the principal reference for the development of garden design. Dating back to different periods, the gardens consist of buildings, pavilions and walls, as well as sophisticated irrigation systems. They have influenced the art of garden design as far as India and Spain. -Ecological: Sustainability is one of main concepts that formed Persian gardens. One of the reasons that makes Persian garden`s concept fallowed in more than 2000 years is sustainability. Therefore, Persian garden concept even in contemporary Persian life and passing through different periods of times does not change comprehensively.

Intangible

  • Historical
  • Mythical
  • Religious
The main intangible values of "The Persian Garden Cultural Landscape" are: -Historical: Persian gardens may originate as early as 4000 BCE. Decorated pottery of that time displays the typical cross plan of the Persian garden. The outline of the Pasargad Persian Garden, built around 500 BCE, is viewable today. -Religious: The Iranian Medes and Persians, have develop the garden and garden designs, like everything else, on similar lines of their empire buildings. They brought with them their love and their veneration for trees. In their Zoroastrian religion, the cult of trees plays an important part, and with them, as with the Assyrians, the symbol of eternal life was a tree with a stream at its roots. Another object of veneration was the sacred miracle tree, which within itself contained the seeds of all. Among the Persians tree-planting was a sacred occupation, and, as Strabo says, was part of their education: boys received instruction in this art in the evenings. And so it came about that this reverence was seated deep in the souls of even the lowest stratum of the people, the common soldiers. -Mythical: Natural elements combine with manmade components in the Persian Garden to create a unique artistic achievement that reflects the ideals of art, philosophical, symbolic and religious concepts. The Persian Garden materialises the concept of Eden or Paradise on Earth. -Cultural: The perfect design of the Persian Garden, along with its ability to respond to extreme climatic conditions, is the original result of an inspired and intelligent application of different fields of knowledge, i.e. technology, water management and engineering, architecture, botany and agriculture. The notion of the Persian Garden permeates Iranian life and its artistic expressions: references to the garden may be found in literature, poetry, music, calligraphy and carpet design. These, in turn, have inspired also the arrangement of the gardens.
Authenticity:
The Persian Garden, through its components, has developed alongside the evolution of the Persian society, while adhering to its early geometric model, the Chahar Bagh. Pasargadae and Bagh-e Abas Abad may be read as fossil landscapes while the other seven gardens retain their active role within their physical and social contexts.
Universality:
Information about the gardens of Pasargad and Eram in Fars Province, Pahlebanpur and Dowlatabad in Yazd Province, Fin and Chehel Sotun in Isfahan Province, Akbarieh in South Khorasan Province, Abbasabad in Mazandaran Province, Shahzadeh Mahan (also known as Shazdeh) in Kerman Province were previously submitted to the UNESCO World Heritage Center. These gardens exemplify the diversity of Persian garden designs that evolved and adapted to different climate conditions while retaining principles that have their roots in the times of Cyrus the Great, king of Persian from c. 558–529 BC. Med-O-Med agrees to the UNESCO criteria: i) The Persian Garden represents a masterpiece of human creative genius. The design of the Persian Garden, based on the right angle and geometrical proportions, is often divided into four sections known as Chahar Bagh (Four Gardens). The creation of the Persian Garden was made possible due to intelligent and innovative engineering solutions and a sophisticated water-management system, as well as the appropriate choice of flora and its location in the garden layout. Indeed, the Persian Garden has been associated with the idea of earthly Paradise, forming a stark contrast to its desert setting. ii) The Persian Garden exhibits an important interchange of human values, having been the principal reference for the development of garden design in Western Asia, Arab countries, and even Europe. It is the geometry and symmetry of the architecture, together with the complex water management system, that seem to have influenced design in all these gardens. The word Paradise entered European languages from the Persian root word "Pardis", which was the name of a beautiful garden enclosed behind walls. iii) The Persian Garden bears exceptional, and even unique, testimony to the cultural traditions that have evolved in Iran and the Middle East over some two and a half millennia. Throughout its evolution, the Persian Garden has had a role in various cultural and social aspects of society, becoming a central feature in private residences, palaces and public buildings, as well as in ensembles associated with benevolent or religious institutions, such as tombs, park layouts, palace gardens, Meidans, etc. iv) The Persian Garden is an outstanding example of a type of garden design achieved by utilising natural and human elements and integrating significant achievements of Persian culture into a physical and symbolic-artistic expression in harmony with nature. Indeed, the Persian Garden has become a prototype for the geometrically-designed garden layout, diffused across the world. vi) The Persian Garden is directly associated with cultural developments of Outstanding Universal Value. These include literary works and poetry for example by Sa'di, Hafez and Ferdowsi. The Persian Garden is also the principal source of inspiration for the Persian carpet and textile design, miniature painting, music, architectural ornaments, etc. In the Avesta, the ancient holy book of the Zoroastrians, the Persian Garden and its sacred plants are praised as one of the four natural elements (earth, heavens, water, and plants). The Chahar Bagh is a reflection of the mythical perception of nature, and the cosmic order in the eyes of the ancient Iranian peoples.
Values linked to the Islamic culture and civilisation:
These gardens are an outstanding example of a type of garden design achieved by utilising natural and human elements and integrating significant achievements of Arabic culture into a physical and symbolic-artistic expression in harmony with nature.

7. ENCLOSURES

Historical and graphical data (drawings, paintings, engravings, photographs, literary items…):

The Persian Garden Cultural Landscape is one of all of the cultural landscapes of Iran which is included in The Cultural Landscape inventory runned by Med-O-Med.

Bibliography:

http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1372 http://whc.unesco.org/en/activities/21/ http://whc.unesco.org/en/news/774 http://whc.unesco.org/en/activities/477/ http://whc.unesco.org/venice2002 http://www.iranreview.org/content/Documents/Persian_Gardens_on_World_Heritage_List.htm http://www.iranreview.org/content/Documents/Palaces_and_Gardens_of_Persia.htm http://www.jadidonline.com/images/stories/flash_multimedia/Persian_garden_design_test/des_high.html http://www.jadidonline.com/images/stories/flash_multimedia/Persian_garden_history_test/his_high.html http://www.isfahan.org.uk/persgard/index2.htm http://www.iranreview.org/content/Documents/Persian_Gardens.htm http://www.gardenvisit.com/history_theory/library_online_ebooks/ml_gothein_history_garden_art_design/persian_gardens_iran_plateau http://www.mukogawa-u.ac.jp/~iasu2012/pdf/iaSU2012_Proceedings_507.pdf http://www.usgbc.org/leed.html http://www.breeam.org.html http://www.asla.org.html -Abbas, M. (2010). Recognition of the Persian garden: Shazdeh garden. Faza, Tehran. -Azade, Sh. (2010). Paradigms of paradise. Jahad daneshgahi, Tehran. -Conan, M. et al. (2007). Middle East Garden Traditions: Unity and Diversity. -Donald, N,W. (1979). Persian gardens and garden pavilions. Dumbarton Oaks. -Karim, M. et al. (1994). Persian Garden. Journal of Abadi, vol.1, No.15, pp.4-9. -Norouzian, H. et al. (2012). Persian Gardens are sustainable gardens: Scrutinize the sustainablity features in Persian Tehran University, Iran. -Reza, A. (1986). Research on Persian gardens and historic gardens of Shiraz. Arhangsara,Tehran. -UNESCO. (2001). Convention concerning the protection of the world cultural and natural heritage. World Heritage Committee. 25 session. Helsinki, Finland. -UNESCO. (2002). Cultural Landscapes: the Challenges of Conservation. Associated Workshops, World Heritage. Ferrara, Italy. -UNESCO. (2011). Persian Gardens on World Heritage List. -Wilber, D. (1979). Persian Gardens and Garden Pavilions. Washington.

Compiler Data: Sara Martínez Frías.