Did You Know: Gardens – an important part of the Muslim civilisation’s built environment

Did you know …

… that gardens have been an integral feature of Islamic architectural design?

This image of an artistic rendering shows the Aga Khan Park gardens with their reflecting pools and the Ismaili Centre, Toronto in the forefront as viewed from the Aga Khan Museum. The Aga Park is a contemporary expression of the traditional Persian styled Chahar Bagh Islamic Garden.

DYI - Aga Khan Park and Ismaili Centre, Toronto viewed from the Museum

In the Muslim world, gardens are seen as places of peace, an escape from the noise outside, and perhaps the best place on earth to feel close to God. The Holy Qur’an offers several references to the idea of jannat al-firdaus or gardens of paradise, ranging from blissful retreat to secure refuge. These images have fed centuries of Muslim art, narrative, and design. Along with being an integral feature of Islamic architectural design, particularly for palaces, gardens have also served as final resting places for the dead.

Gardens were incorporated in several of the Umayyad palaces, as well as the palatial designs in Muslim Spain. The development of formal gardens became an art form in Iran from at least the fourteenth century as can be seen from their frequent depiction in miniature paintings of the period. Under the Timurids, gardens became a priority for royal residences. The Mughals of India acquired their interest in gardens from the Timurids and developed the concept of a memorial garden surrounding a tomb.

An example of a memorial garden is Humayun’s Tomb Gardens in Delhi, India, that was restored in 2003 by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture.

DYI - AKTC Project - Humayun Tomb Gardens

 

 

Background:

  • Umayyad were the first major ruling Muslim dynasty that ruled the Arabian peninsula and North Africa from 661–750.
  • Timurids were a Muslim dynasty which ruled Persia and Transoxiana from 1370–1507.
  • Mughals  were a Muslim dynasty which ruled the Indian Sub-continent from 1526–1857.

 

Explore, Discover and Learn more:

  1. Marianne Barrucand. “The Garden as a Reflection of Paradise.” Islam: Art and Architecture Edited by Markus Hattstein and Peter Delius. Konemann, 2000.
  2. Archnet: Humayun’s Tomb Complex Restoration – Strategies for Urban Regeneration: Case Studies: India

Did You Know Collection:

 

Did You Know Collection, is a compilation of interesting items researched by Nimira Dewji. Click on her name to explore her other contributions on Ismailimail

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