Persian Gardens

Earlier this year UNESCO added nine places to the World Heritage list from Iran. These had already been added to the Iranian National Heritage list, but now got World protection. These Palaces were saved specifically for their gardens, as formal gardens have been in Persia for the last two millennia.
The influence of Zoroastrianism in the 7th century C.E. meant that trees became sacred in gardens, as well as life-giving water. The gardens are walled and inward looking, a retreat from the outside world. The Mongol invasion of Persia in the 13th century brought the idea of structural and ornate design to the Persian garden, creating a very formal style. The Gardens are split into four parts, to represent the world while also being a retreat from it. The Persian word for such gardens is “pairi-daeza” which was transliterated into Paradise in English. The designs are classical, formal or casual, public or private. The Mongols took the design and idea of Persian gardens back throughout their Empire, which in turn influenced many gardens in India, with the Taj Mahal the most well known example. These Gardens are known literally as paradise on earth, which brings a new meaning to this flask. The influence can be seen as far away as the Al-Andalus, such as the Huerta de la Alcurnia and the Alhambra. Please see the previous post The Alhambra for more details and a visual tour.
History of Persian Garden Design on The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies.
Persian Gardens by Firouzeh Mirrazavi. On Iran Review.
The Persian Garden by K. Kianush. On Iransaga.
The Mughal Garden: Gateway to Paradise by James Dickie (Yaqub Zaki). JStor article.
A History of the Sanctuary Garden by Mac Griswold. JStor article.
The Hispano-Arab Garden: Its Philosophy and Function by James Dickie. JStor article.
A Sasanian Garden Palace by Arthur Upham Pope. JStor article.
The Islamic Garden in Oman: Sanctuary and Paradise by John Alexander Smith. JStor article.
Garden Agon by Susan Stewart. JStor article.
A Persian Garden Carpet by Martin Conway. JStor article.

Ottoman gardens

The most famous of these gardens are in the Topkapi Serai. The Palace had been built on an olive grove. Suleiman the Magnificent was said to have planted over 1000 trees to improve the garden.

The above picture is a 16th century miniature of a garden party. These garden parties would have entertainers of all sorts, musicians, dancers, acrobats and poets, wandering around to entertain. The gardens would contain cypress trees and a fountain of at least one spout. The main focus of the garden, public or private, would be the pavilion. This would be situated for the best view.

The picture is of Suleiman with his son Mustafa resting in the garden pavilion (or Kiosk) listening to music. In the late period Ottoman empire, there were flower beds installed. Mainly to display tulips.

In 2006, an Ottoman garden was opened in St. Louis, Missouri. In the Missouri Botanical Garden it had been created by the Bakewell Family Trust. Photos are available to view on Flickr.
Bibliography– Topkapi Sarai.
Jrank– Early Ottoman Gardens.
Turkish Cultural Foundation– Turkish gardens during the Ottoman times.
Turkish Cultural Foundation– ‘Ottoman Garden’ in the US.
Saudi Aramco– An Ottoman Garden in St. Louis.
Cornucopia Issue 29 Book review for “A Garden For the Sultan”.
Middle East garden traditions by By Michel Conan, Dumbarton Oaks. Google books so only a preview.
History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey: Vol 1 by By Stanford J. Shaw. Google Books so only a preview.
Turkey by By Dana Facaros, Michael Pauls. Google Books so only a preview.