Eram Garden is a prominent example of what a Persian Garden is and what it represents in Iranian culture. In this article, we’re going to take a look at Eram Garden.
On the map of Iran, Eram Garden is in the northwest of Shiraz, a short distance from the northern mountains of Shiraz (Babakuhi). On its south side, the dry river Shiraz can be seen from east to west. Eram is an authentic Iranian garden. Built around the tenth century, the garden contains several monuments and the Botanical Garden of Shiraz University.
It was first called the Royal Garden because it was built by the Seljuk kings. Since it is one of the most beautiful Iranian gardens, and it is unique in many ways, it is now called “Eram”. “Eram” is the Persian equivalent of the Arabic word “Iram”, which means “paradise” in Islamic books and the Koran. Given the beauty of Eram Garden, this is a very suitable name.
The garden area is 110380 square meters. One of the most interesting parts of the garden is the passage in the middle of the garden. It connects the eastern area to the western, with tall cedar trees on either side. You will find a variety of trees in this garden, and the cedars are probably the most fascinating. The atmosphere of this garden in the spring is mesmerizing.
Iran cultural tours suggest Eram Garden for a reason. It existed in the days of the Seljuks and Al Inju. It seems that King Sanjar built it because he built many other Iranian gardens during his reign. At the time of Zandiyeh, Karim Khan Zand tried to build and refine this garden, like other attractions of Shiraz that were rebuilt at the time of Zandiyeh. In the late Zandiyeh dynasty, the Qashqai tribe owned this garden. At the time of Fath Ali Shah Qajar, the first Ilkhan Qashqai and his son, Mohammad Qoli Khan, built its interior. Many flowers and trees were planted by the Shah’s order. At the time of Nasser al-Din Shah Qajar, Mirza Hassan Ali Khan Nasir al-Molk bought the garden and built the current mansion in the place of the previous building and the garden has become in Qavami family’s possession.
Haj Mohammad Hassan Khan – known to many as Mohammad Hassan Memar, was one of the most famous architects of Shiraz. He designed the building similar to Nasir ol-Molk Mosque in Shiraz. After that, Abulqasim Khan (the nephew of Nasir ol-Molk), Abdullah Qavami’s son, sold it back to the Qashqai tribe.
At the time of Pahlavi, due to the support that the Qashqais provided for Mossadegh, the government exiled them and confiscated the garden. This garden was later transferred to Shiraz University (owned by the Faculty of Law). The Cultural Heritage Office renovated it in 1979. In addition to the maintenance of the building, the walls of the garden were replaced by stone walls with a protective wall. Eram Garden Mansion, built during the reign of Nasser al-Din Shah Qajar, has features similar to that of other buildings such as that of Zandiyeh and Safavid architecture. Currently, the place is open to the public. The designers used the poems of Hafez, Saadi, and Shurideh Shirazi in the decoration of the building.
The main building of Eram Garden of Shiraz is a relatively complete representative of mid-Qajar buildings. The facade tilework is a complete imitation of the images on the walls of one of the Safavid buildings. In front of the building, there is a large pool. The building has three floors and 32 rooms with a gable roof and a porch with a flat roof. The basement rooms are a place to relax on the hot days of summer, with running water passing by you in the middle of the room. So, the crypt was a great place to live in summers. In the decorations of these rooms, the designers used colorful tiles. The upper two floors have columns inspired by Persepolis.
The ground floor has a main hall in the middle. People know this hall as “Hozkhane”. On the two sides of Hozkhane, there are two corridors. At the end of both corridors, there are staircases. On either side of the corridors are two large halls. Adjacent to the south side of the kitchen is a large kitchen.
The second floor of the mansion has two tall pillars in the middle of a large veranda. Behind this porch, there is a large hall. On either side of it, there are two corridors with two Gooshvars over the top and Chahartaq (four arches) are on both sides of the corridors. On each side of the large porch are two small porches to the east, behind which are sashes. Each porch has two small integrated stone pillars. Also, in the north and south end of the mansion, there are two corridors.
The front porch of the central porch and its surroundings are one of the most interesting tilework of the Qajar period. It is not seen in other buildings of the same period. In Qavam al-Maliki divan or the other interior decorations of the Qajar period, you can’t find anything such as the front porch inscriptions of Eram Garden. It is truly unique.
Nasir ol-Molk left behind invaluable monuments in Fars, including Nasir ol-Molk Mosque, Nasir ol-Molk House, and Eram Garden.
The central veranda and the two verandas surrounding it are architectural masterpieces. The tiles of the porches are one of the most interesting artworks of the Qajar period. Its mansion with fascinating carvings and oil paintings are among the most valuable and important monuments of Shiraz. As mentioned earlier, the porch consists of three parts (one main large porch and two small porches), each with a variety of designs and paintings made of tile.
The middle floor, which is a large veranda with two columns, is decorated with tiles showing an image of Nasser al-Din Shah Qajar riding on a white horse. There are also red flowers around him. You can also see an image of the Sassanid king, Khosrow.
When Shirin, the Armenian princess, was bathing, and Khosrow, the Persian king, was passing, an encounter happens between them leading to passionate love. On the right side, there is a story from the Koran and the Bible: the moment Joseph enters the palace of Zulikha, when all the women are amazed at her beauty, cutting their hands with a knife. You can also see poetry by Ferdowsi and Nezami written in calligraphy on the walls.
One of the small porches depicts Darius the Great, the founder of the Achaemenid empire. This figure is used as a symbol of Persepolis. The other small porch shows a picture of a deer and a cheetah in a hunting fight. The exterior of the building consists of 8 engraved two-meter tall stones, two of which represent the image of Qajar soldiers. There are 6 other stones, with Nastaliq inscriptions from Nasir ol-Molk and engravings by Mirza Ali Naqi Khushnevis.
Eram Garden is one of the works belonging to the Nasser al-Din Shah period with the current building built by Nasir ol-Molk. In this case, several inscriptions remain in different parts of the garden from Nasir ol-Molk.
There are six inscriptions in the garden which are almost unique in the entire Iranian architecture. These stone inscriptions contain information about the garden presented in the form of poetry. On two of these inscription stones, for example, you will see poems by Shoorideh Shirazi. These inscriptions contain things like the date of building the garden, the man who build it, and the king in whose time the garden was built. The main purpose of these inscriptions is to record the gradual process of building and then repairing the garden.
Another interesting thing about the inscriptions is the bas relief of the Achaemenid soldier. It is on the third inscription stone. The purpose of this design is to give the garden an air of ancient Persian culture, but many believe the bas relief is not as good as what you see in Persepolis. Overall, these inscriptions are unique in terms of design and purpose, even though you may find similar works from hundreds of years ago still erected here and there in Iran.
The variety of plants in this garden is remarkable. That is why it is known as Shiraz Botanical Garden. All kinds of plants from all over the world are planted in this garden.
The trees in the garden are usually divided into two classes: non-fruit trees such as cedar, pine, maple, bismuth; and fruit trees such as citrus trees. Plus, you can see a variety of ornamental shrubs, flowers, and vegetation throughout the garden. At the far end of the Garden, there is a rocky garden of 5,000 acres, covered with a variety of rocky plants. During the development of the Garden, the builders planted a variety of rose flowers in the west and northwest sides of the garden. This section is unique in terms of diversity, even in comparison with the surrounding countries. There are approximately 300 species of roses in this garden, in fact, only two or three other rose gardens like this in the world.
One of the most famous attractions in this garden is its tall cedar. In fact, many know Shiraz as the home to cedar trees, but among all these cedar trees, Shiraz cedar, or “Sarv-e-Naz”, is a specific tree found only in Shiraz. It has a worldwide reputation. This cedar is more than forty meters tall. Some experts estimate its lifespan to be over a thousand years.
In fact, this cedar is Shiraz’s oldest cedar. Great poets such as Hafiz and Sa’adi likened their companions to the cedar in their poetry. The cedar in the simile is, in fact, “Sarv-e-Naz”, a word that people now use to mean amazing beauty in the Iranian language.
In ancient times, the pool in front of the mansion was deeper and the water supplying the garden came from the “Great Creek” aqueduct. The water then flowed into the pool, passing through the mansion’s crypt and into the small and large canals around the garden, and continuing on its way into the streams in the heart the garden. In this way, the trees and plants were irrigated. Water is still flowing into these pools and ponds, feeding the garden like the past. The water flow in Eram garden is also a sign of dynamics and life.
Due to the unique features of the Garden and the unique work of its architects, the name of this garden has been in the National Monuments List since November 4th, 1974. The garden is one of the nine Iranian gardens to be listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It was listed as a symbol of Iranian gardens at the 35th session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, June 27, 2011.
Eram Garden is a unique blend of history and nature, so taking a walk in this paradise setting can make you feel great. In addition, you can experience wearing traditional Iranian clothes and take pictures to make it a lasting memory. You can also buy different souvenir of Iran in this garden, both for yourself and your loved ones. And, in the end, there is nothing more enjoyable than eating Faludeh Shirazi in this heavenly atmosphere.
The best season to visit is spring. So, March, April, and May are the best months to be here. Early autumn can also be a good idea in terms of weather and the natural atmosphere. In summer, although the garden is as beautiful as in spring, the warmth of the weather may not be a pleasant experience for many of us. In winter, the garden has a tragic beauty that is closer to the mood of ancient Iran, but it is also our recommendation to experience the unique nature of the garden in spring.
It is the seventh street in the world for romantic encounters. Walking on this street is one of the attractions of Shiraz in all seasons. The beauty of the street is doubled in autumn and the mood is different, as the whole street is covered with fallen leaves. By the order of Shiraz municipality, autumn leaves should not be taken from the street.
Since Shiraz is a tourist town, you have a variety of choices to make in terms of accommodation. These choices are available to you at different prices. One of them can be the Zandiyeh Hotel, which is in the historical and old texture of the city. This 5-star hotel is a great place to stay. Shiraz Grand Hotel, located at the entrance of the city and near the Quran Gate, is also a good choice.
Shiraz is home to many great restaurants. Haftkhan restaurant, for example, which is an internationally famous restaurant, attracts many tourists and locals every day. This restaurant has 7 sections, each devoted to a very special Iranian dish. Kateh Mas is another nice place to get delicious food. Sharzeh Restaurant, close to Vakil Bazaar and Mosque, hosts numerous tourists every day with its exemplary food. You can also find many cafes around the town to spend mornings and evenings with great Iranian and international food.
Almost any Shiraz travel guide recommends a long visit to Eram Garden, a visit you will always remember. No word is there to describe that awe-inspiring experience you’ll get when you see Sarv-e-Naz. So, make sure to plan for a visit to Eram Garden when you’re traveling for pleasure next time.