July 3rd, 2011
Last week, the ‘Persian Garden’ was added to the Unesco list of World Heritage sites. The commission identified nine gardens in several Iranian provinces that exemplify the Persian Garden, from its inception 2600 years ago to the current state.
That current state differs considerably. Some gardens only show remnants of what once was, the northern garden of Bagh-e Abas Abad for example, or the very minimalist remnants of Cyrus the Great’s garden at Pasargad. Others, such as Bagh-e Fin in Kashan in the Isfahan province, are in pristine shape.
Thusfar the Unesco website only gives two pictures of one garden. We can do better than that. Not all gardens are represented in HGimages (the Historical Gardens photo group on flickr) yet, and the ones that are there do not show many photos. But that is work in progress and I thought it would be nice to get a visual idea of what these gardes look like now. In the list below, the links refer to these photos. No link, no photos.
The nine listed gardens are:
- Bagh-e Abas Abad | HGmap
- Bagh-e Fin | HGmap
- Bagh-e Chehel Sotun | HGmap
- Bagh-e Akhbariyeh
- Bagh-e Shahzadeh
- Bagh-e Eram | HGmap
- Ancient garden of Pasargadae | HGmap
- Bagh-e Dolat Abad | HGmap
- Bagh-e Pahlavanpur
Finally I would like to point at an amazing feature of traditional Iranian architecture, which I encountered while looking for pictures of these gardens: the ‘windcatchers’, as at Dolat Abad. It shows how inventive people can get when living in harsh conditions that -on the surface- seem to make living there impossible. It is the same inventiveness that made gardening possible here for over two and a half century. And counting.
In its june 2011 session Unesco has entered the ‘Persian Garden’ on their World Heritage list. It is an acknowledgement of 2600 years of gardening in ‘failed state’ Iran. Nine locations are entered, ranging from gardens that only show bare essentials to pristine layouts.