The paradise garden is a form of garden of Old Persian origin. Originally referred to by a single noun signifying "a walled-in compound or garden"; from pairi (around) and daeza or diz (wall, brick, or shape), Xenophon translated the Persian phrase pairidaeza into the Greek version Paradeisos. The enclosed garden concept is now often referred to as paradise garden due to additional Indo-European meanings of "paradise."
Character and layout
The paradise garden takes some of its character from its original arid or semi-arid homeland. The most basic feature is the enclosure of the cultivated area. This excludes the wildness of nature, and includes the tended, watered greenery of the garden. The commonest and easiest layout for the perimeter walls is that of a rectangle, and this forms one of the prime features of this kind of garden. Another common theme is the elaborate use of water, often in canals, ponds or rills, sometimes in fountains, less often in waterfalls of various kinds.
The rectangular or rectilinear theme of the garden is often extended to the water features, which may be used to quarter the garden. This layout is echoed in the four rivers of the Garden of Eden, and much of the use and symbolism of the paradise garden is derived from this connection. The contrast between a formal garden layout with the informality of free-growing plants provides a recurring theme to many paradise gardens.
Derived garden types
The Persian paradise garden is one of the handful of fundamental original garden types from which all the world's gardens derive, in various combinations. In its simplest form, the Persian garden consists of a formal rectangle of water, with enough of a flow to give it life and movement, and with a raised platform to view it from. A pavilion provides more permanent shelter than the original tent, and strictly aligned, formally arranged trees, especially the chenar or Platanus, provide shade, and the perimeter is walled for privacy and security. Odor and fruit are important elements in this pairedeza or paradise, which realizes the symbol of eternal life, a tree with a spring issuing at its roots.
The Achaemenid kings set these gardens within enclosed royal hunting parks, a different landscape garden tradition, which they inherited from the Assyrians, for whom the ritual lion hunt was a rite that authenticated kingship, far more than a mere royal sport.
It became the foundation of much of the garden traditions of Islam, and later on of Europe. Examples of the paradise garden and its derivatives can be seen today in many of the historic gardens of Islamic and European countries. In the east, the Persian garden gave rise to the Mughal gardens of India, a late example of which is the grounds of the Taj Mahal at Agra. In the farthest west, it is best known by the paved and tiled courtyards with arcades, pools and fountains of Moorish Andalusia. They are used as the main design for the Versailles Gardens that almost replicate the outlines of paradisio gardens of pasargad and as inspiration for the gardens at the Louvre. Another example is of the Bahá'í Terraces on Mount Carmel and the Mansion of Bahjí both of which have extensive gardens intricately laid out with respect to the buildings on the site.
- Islamic garden
- Persian Gardens and bagh (garden)
- Mughal Gardens
- Landscape design history
- History of gardening
- Howard Finster
- A Village Romeo and Juliet
- Penelope Hobhouse; Erica Hunningher; Jerry Harpur (2004). Gardens of Persia. Kales Press. pp. 7–13.
- Yael Hammerman: Distinctive Design of the Bahá’í Gardens
- Lehrman, Jonas Benzion (1980). Earthly paradise: garden and courtyard in Islam. University of California Press. ISBN 0520043634.
- Villiers-Stuart, C. M. (1913). The Gardens of the Great Mughals. Adam and Charles Black, London. Online text of history of Indian gardens.