Development Of Arab-Islamic Gardens

Development Of Arab-Islamic Gardens
Development Of Arab-Islamic Gardens

Video: Development Of Arab-Islamic Gardens

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Video: Islamic Gardens - Catalysts for Change 2023, January
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Arab symbolism has existed since the very inception of Arab art. The center of this symbol means that God is great. It is often used in Arabic architecture, along with the suras from the Koran. Their spelling has not changed over the centuries, and they still express the thoughts of the Arab people.

You can highlight the basic elements that are present in all Islamic gardens. Their territory is rectangular, like the square where the Prophet Muhammad communicated with people. One of the most important elements (if not the main one) is water. It has not only aesthetic, but also practical significance for areas where there may be no rain for 4 months. Muslims pray several times a day, and always before prayer they perform ablution in order to appear clean before God.

In Islamic buildings, in the architecture of mosques and schools, there is often a dome, symbolizing the earth. Mosques are built with tall minarets designed to announce the times of prayer. The Koran prohibits the use of images of people, therefore, there are many abstract patterns and ligatures in the external and internal decorative design.

Quranic pages vividly describe life after death, often in the form of a Garden of Eden. In Arabic, the same word means both paradise and garden. Paradise was presented as a garden teeming with beautiful plants. Muslims have long begun to create such gardens near their homes according to the laws specified by the Koran.

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Many images of Arab gardens have survived, which gave inspiration for creating a similar garden near their home, and about the plants that need to be planted in them. Parks were built on the same principles, which were also of great spiritual importance for the Arabs. The garden is necessarily closed with walls, expressing the metaphor that paradise is hidden behind these walls. The gardens and parks were cruciform, oriented to the four cardinal points. According to the Koran, they were divided into 4 parts by 4 rivers - from water, honey, milk and wine. Since then, the scheme and symbolism of the Arabian gardens have not changed.

Arab architecture is very graphic and symbolic. In the construction of gardens, division into four quadrangles with a fountain in the center is often found. Each of the parts, in turn, can be divided into 4 more parts. One of the main colors of Islamic culture is green.

The biggest challenge faced by the builders of the ancient Arab gardens was the provision of water. Even before our era, a system of water supply from underground was invented, which fed fountains and decorative rivers. All the dangerous work was done by the prisoners. This system was widely used throughout the Mediterranean, and in virtually all Arab gardens.

The Iranian garden was characterized by a large number of fruit trees, the presence of a gazebo for admiring the garden. In the palace of the Sultan Bag-i-Fin, the garden was large, capable of accommodating several thousand subjects, and had a length of more than 2000 m. Water for his life was supplied from the mountain and circulated through the garden, creating coolness. It had a typical quadrangular structure with a fountain in the center and was intended so that people could see what awaited them after death, a kind of paradise on earth.

Alhambra
Alhambra

Alhambra

Morocco
Morocco

Morocco

In 711, the Arabs came to Spain and passed from Gibraltar to Andalusia, here today you can see the Arab architecture preserved in its original form. The largest number of monuments of that time are preserved in Andalusia, similar examples of architecture can be seen in Seville and Granada. However, the first and main settlement of the Arabs in Spain was Cordoba. The Arabs gave a great impetus to the development of medicine, architecture and culture in Spain.

In the Middle Ages, the house of the Caliph was the tallest. Excavations made it possible to find on the territory of Morocco a large palace of the Caliph, capable of accommodating 15-20 thousand people, built according to a typical Arab scheme. The whole city was located near the water, where it was cooler and there was a possibility of water supply. The Islamic Garden is characterized by soft flowing water. The flowing lines are reflected in the traditional Arabian design called "Arabesque".

The Alhambra is an Arab settlement in Granada, one of a kind in all of Europe. In the XIV century, the Alhambra palace was built here from pink-red brick ("red castle") - nondescript outside, but striking in its beauty inside, with many gardens and trees. The Spanish medieval kings built their castle next to the Alhambra, here was the first garden through which you could go to the rest. It was impossible to come here without an invitation, and those invited by the king, first of all, got into the Myrtle court and saw a large amount of water. The spacious pool with an artificial water supply was not at all deep and rather served as a symbol. The shrubs on the left and right appeared later, originally orange trees grew, creating a magical scent and a feeling of paradise.

The palace grounds, as a rule, included several independent gardens. Among them were the ruler's public and private gardens. The famous fountain of the Lion's Court in the Alhambra collects water from four sides. Twelve lions, symbolizing twelve months, twelve signs of the zodiac, support the reservoir of the Heavenly Waters. Each lion is the sun, casting down the stream of life, and together they represent eternity. The palace building itself is an excellent example of architecture, with thin graceful columns surrounding a kind of canopies around the perimeter, from which you can watch the garden.

Alcazar, Seville
Alcazar, Seville

Alcazar, Seville

The 12th century palace garden in Seville, now known as the Casas de Contracion (Chambers of Commerce), is divided into 4 parts, lowered to a depth of 2 m, each of which grows citrus trees. From the central fountain, water flows in four directions. The palace itself is notable for its intricate design, a lot of handicraft, typical of Arab architecture. Initially, a magnificent panorama opened from it, but the peasant cathedral built later blocked the view.

The Alhambra was home to 2,000 people. Next to the Alhambra, in the Generalife, a 200 m high Partal summer palace was built. Its territory bore the typical signs of an Arab garden - a large amount of water and plants located around the perimeter. Water was supplied through a system of aqueducts and reservoirs to the height of a two-story building in such a way that it became possible to make fountains. The visitor could admire the magnificent views, moving from one garden to another. In the Sultana's garden on the slope there is a flight of stairs, along the stone walls of which there is a gutter with murmuring water. Water flowing along the edges of the stairs created coolness. This staircase with fountains is 600 years old; there are no such structures in Europe anymore.

The Lion's Courtyard at the Alhambra
The Lion's Courtyard at the Alhambra

The Lion's Courtyard at the Alhambra

Sultana's garden
Sultana's garden

Sultana's garden

The Spaniards adopted many elements of Arab architecture, and not only them - in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, gardens were created with the same water supply scheme.

Arab influence quickly spread from Gibraltar to India. Many examples of Islamic gardens have survived in India since the Mughal conquest. The first Mughal ruler was Babur - a representative of an ancient Kabul family, a successful military leader, who, after the very first victories, began to create beautiful gardens. His garden in Kabul had a self-contained water supply and was filled with blooming orange trees.

The new residence of Babur Ram Bagh in Agra was built in 1528 from red stone and formed a single whole with a garden for relaxation, laid out in a typical Arab design. There are no closed gazebos, which were replaced by an awning. This is an absolutely artificial structure for the local landscape, surrounded by a high wall, outside of which there is only wild nature. Preserved images of Babur, where he follows the construction of the garden. The gardens were for him in second place after the conduct of hostilities. He loved to arrange holidays in them, indulge in meditation and reading.

Nishat bug in Kashmir
Nishat bug in Kashmir

Nishat bug in Kashmir

His second palace, in the Kashmir Valley, was conceived as a summer residence due to the favorable climate. A large territory adjoined it, which included a river and a lake with lotuses. Several gardens were laid out around the lake, the lower one was intended for holidays, and all the rest were for Babur himself. More than 200 gardens were subsequently built in this valley.

Lahore Palace in Pakistan
Lahore Palace in Pakistan

Lahore Palace in Pakistan

Symmetry (4x4x4), a large number of plants and the presence of water were typical features of this garden. Traditionally, in Arab gardens, water was stagnant, but new elements appear in this garden - water cascades with built-in fountains, steps leading to the river, and a waterfall. During the holidays, candles were placed under the waterfall, and this created a unique effect. The soft forms of the garden are in contrast to everything that can be seen outside.

Lahore Palace in East Pakistan is built according to the classic 4x4x4 layout. In the foreground of the building is a balcony with a roof over it. The royal family rested here, admiring the garden and the fountain. The height of the jet in the fountain is adjustable and the water flows into the lower part of the garden. On holidays, candles and flowers were inserted into the canal walls. This garden still serves as a source of ideas for modern landscape designers.

Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal

Another type of Islamic garden is the mausoleum garden. The pinnacle of such a creation is the Indian Taj Mahal, built by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife.

In front of the marble tomb there is a typical garden with its axes directed to the four cardinal points. The entrance is decorated with lots of flowers. In its architectural solution, everything matters: the mausoleum itself, plants, and even reflections in the water. The garden is divided into 4 parts by water canals, at the intersection of which there is a fountain, which is currently not functioning.

The greatest achievement of the Arab-Islamic gardens can be considered the organization of their water supply. Only in the 19th century was the water supply system invented, which opened up new possibilities for creating gardens.

Photos courtesy of Karl H.K. Ludwig

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