Thursday, 5 January 2012

Persian Gardens added to UNESCO World Heritage List

In my opinion, the art of the garden is at least as significant a component of socio-cultural identity and development as any art form; yet the garden continues to be overshadowed by more traditional art forms. 

It is, therefore, always encouraging to see historic gardens receiving the recognition they deserve.  It may be ‘olds’ rather than ‘news’ but for those (who like me) missed the announcement in June 2011, UNESCO has added the generic Persian Garden to its World Heritage List.  

One of the Nine:Bagh-e Fin (click here for attribution)
The UNESCO Persian Garden is nine gardens selected from as many various regions of Iran:  
  1. Ancient Garden of Pasargadae
  2. Bagh-e Eram, Shiraz.
  3. Bagh-e Chehel Sotun, Esfahan.
  4. Bagh-e Fin, Kashan
  5. Bagh-e Abas Abad, Behshahr.
  6. Bagh-e Shahzadeh, Kerman.
  7. Bagh-e Dolat Abad, Yazd.
  8. Bagh-e Pahlavanpur, Mehriz
  9. Bagh-e Akbariyeh, Birjand
The locations of the Persian Gardens.
 To quote the UNESCO citation, the Persian Garden consists of a collection of gardens which ‘tangibly represent the diverse forms that this type of designed garden has assumed over the centuries and in different climatic conditions... 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 quadri-partite form of the Persian garden saw its genesis in the garden of Cyrus the Great at Pasargardae in the 6th century BCE and evolved into the chahar bagh or earthly paradise of the Islamic garden.  This garden form, which continues to be a vibrant and relevant religio-garden style and may vary in size from a tiny internal courtyard to a garden covering many hectares, found expression across the Islamic world.  From Moorish Spain (eg the Alhambra and the Generalife) in the west to the Mughal Empire in the east (eg the Taj Mahal in India, Babur’s Tomb in Afghamitan and Shalimar Bagh in Kashmir).
The Lakeside Cafe in the Al-Azhar Park, Cairo

1 comment:

  1. The Persian Gardens is really an amazing place to visit. It really deserves to be included in the UNESCO World Heritage list.