Diversity of designs and exclusive architectural styles in Persian gardens symbolizes the image of Eden with four Zoroastrian elements of sky, earth, water and plants. Persian garden with three certain features and an exclusive design is globally well-known as outstanding example of Persian culture: (1) located along the water stream; (2) surrounded by high walls; and (3) contained a summer edifice and a pool of water.
Nine Persian garden registered in UNESCO include: Pasargade garden in Shiraz as the mother of Persian gardens, built in 6th century BC, and related to Cyrus the great; Eram garden of Shiraz , built in Seljuk era with a Qajar edifice; Chehel Sotun garden of Isfahan, The royal garden, Safavid period; Fin garden of Kashan, Safavid era; Mahan garden of Kerman, late Qajar era; Akbarieh garden of Birjand , late Zandieh and early Qajar era; Dolat Abad garden of Yazd, late Afsharid dynasty; Pahlevan pour garden of Mehriz, late Qajar dynasty; Abbas Abad garden, Safavid era.
Except Abbasabad in Mazandaran province, the rest are all located in the arid and semi-arid areas of central plateau of Iran, and that makes the creation of the garden, a “masterpiece of human creative genius” as UNESCO describes it. These nine gardens are a small selection to represent design, engineering and meaning of a Persian Garden.
History of Persian Garden goes back to the epoch of Achaemenid king, Cyrus the Great, and first designed royal garden is believed to be in Pasargadae near today’s Shiraz. The archaeological site of Pasargadae Garden is among the inscribed gardens, although there are no trees remaining.
Water plays very important roles in the Persian Garden. Not only it is for irrigation, but it giving the aesthetic beauty by flowing in the well designed aqueducts, jetting into fountains and pouring small ponds. Water is always moving, it should not be still, it ought to give life to plants, freshen the air and create the burbling sound that soothes the soul.
It then flows out of the garden to be used elsewhere. It is interesting that usually the source of irrigation of the garden is usually different from the source that is used for ornamentation.
Shazdeh Garden- Kerman
Just like a mirage, Shazdeh Garden is an emerald oasis in the desert! This UNESCO-listed Persian Garden lies in the outskirts of Mahan (a town 38 km from Kerman). Upon entrance, this masterpiece of Persian architecture disconnects you from the dry and sandy world outside and welcomes you with wonder after wonder inside. It enjoys fresh weather, breath-taking views, a harmonious design and a genius water system. But above all, the pleasant harmony of the staircase, the fountains, the towering trees, and the impressive pavilion of this top Persian garden is sure to fill you with admiration.
Dolat Abad Garden- Yazd
The historical city of wind towers, Yazd, is home to a full gallery of charms! But its Dolat Abad Garden (UNESCO Persian Garden) is a full manifestation of the beauties of Iran’s desert cities. This priceless 18th century relic hides the world’s tallest wind tower in its heart. Together with Qanats (underground water channels), the 33-meter wind tower present you the fresh weather of the traditional Iranian cooling system.
Chehel Sotoun Palace- Isfahan
Not far from Isfahan’s fabulous Naqsh-e Jahan Square, you’ll find another of Iran’s top Persian gardens: Chehel Sotoun Palace. Rightfully saving a place as a UNESCO Persian Garden, this 17th century beauty is an artistic masterpiece. Some of the majestic elements you see in Chehel Sotoun were inspired by ancient Persian architecture. The 20 tall pillars and inlay work of the photogenic iwan and their beautiful reflection on the front pool is truly admirable. But above all, the Throne Hall impresses you with its majesty and richly decorated paintings and ceramics.
Fin Garden- Kashan
A sense of history, beautifully proportioned decorations, and crystal-clear water flowing on every corner are what make Kashan’s Fin Garden (UNESCO Persian Garden) a real spectacle. Turquoise-tiled pools and fountains, and richly decorated pavilions shine like precious jewels in the middle of old cedars. The pavilions feature elaborate architecture, tasteful paintings, colored glass windows, and stalactite ceilings. But beauty, taste, and elegance are not the only reasons that make this delightful garden so well-known. Its fame as the setting of the assassination of Iran’s most revered prime minister also puts this top Persian garden on the Iranians’ must-visit list.
Eram Garden- Shiraz
Let me present you the 4-season beauty of Iran’s city of flowers and nightingales: the historical Eram Garden. Whether you get to see the blooms and blossoms of its spring or the golden look of its colorful leaves in fall, this UNESCO-listed Persian Garden will not miss to impress you. The garden’s elegant mansion, its sophisticated irrigation system, its tall cypresses, and its fascinating scent and scenery make it not much less of a paradise. Eram is also a botanical garden with a rich collection of trees and plants from around the world. Don’t miss the small Museum of Minerology on the ground floor of the richly decorated mansion.
Pahlavanpour Garden- Mehriz
Just like many of Iran’s top Persian gardens, this unique one is also found in a desert climate! Not far from Yazd (45 km), in the small town of Mehriz, you’ll find the precious UNESCO Persian Garden: Pahlavanpour Garden. This adorable treasure showcases natural and architectural brilliance combined with history. Particularly, the lovely stream flowing inside the garden and its old thick trees give it a refreshing atmosphere. The integrated design of Pahlavanpour garden is in fact representative of different architectural styles from diverse eras. This top Persian garden currently serves as a hotel where you can enjoy a unique overnight.
Akbarieh garden of Birjand
This complex includes several mansions, the oldest building is “Heshmat ol-Molk” Mansion which is located in the eastern end and has two floors. It dates back to the late Zandiyeh and early Qajar eras. The garden was used as the residence and the place for hosting the guest and doing the official works of the governors. The main plan of the garden has a root in the Iranian art of architecture and is fantastic to visit.Magnificent sash windows, stunning plaster works and tall oak trees on the both sides of the entrance will amaze any visitor. There are many tall pine trees on both sides of the main street. undefined One part of the building was built in the “Zandi” era and the other in the early part of the “Pahlavi” era. Its decorations include a hall of mirrors, the main middle house a skull capped arched dome decorated with officially lined paintings etc. undefined Bearing in mind that the building was first build and used as a Government house, the garden comes into the category of a governmental garden. At the present time the traditional dinning room and the valuable museum containing archaeological, anthropological and wildlife specimens are included in the complex.
Abbasabad Garden in Behshahr
Abbasabad Garden in Behshahr. More than the garden itself, Abbasabad is famous for its artificial lake and the chahartaq building in the middle of the lake which in fact works as a spillway. The lake and its buildings were built by the order of Shah Abbas I, the founder of Safavid dynasty.