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Eram Garden in Shiraz

Eram Garden, Shiraz

The Eram Garden is one of the most beautiful and monumental gardens of Iran. Apparently, its history goes back to the period of the Saljuq Dynasty (A.D.1038-1194). Since its construction and until the late 18th century, it was predominantly used by the local rulers and Persian monarchs. At the end of the Zand Dynasty (A.D.1750-1794), the Qashqaie tribal chieftains tookover the garden and the one of them called Jani Khan and his son constructed a building within it. At the time of Nasir ud-Din Shah Qajar (A.D.1848-1896), a Shirazi nobleman, Haj Nassir ul-Mulk, bought the garden from the Qashqaie overlords and constructed the present charming building. After passing through a chain of owners, the garden was finally handed over to shiraz University in 1963. It is now being used as a botanical garden by plant science researchers and general public.

The main building of the garden consists of three stories. In the basement one can see a beautiful small pond while on the second floor, at the center of the building is a large porch with two high standing pillars.

On both sides of the large porch, two other small porches can be seen facing the rays of the morning sun.
Two-meter high solid stone plates decorate the external façade of the building six of these plates have inscriptions in beautiful cursive Persian, depicting poems by some of the most famous Persian poets, notably Sa’di, Hafez and Shurideh.
On the top of the façade, there are three large and two small crescent-shape tile works, each illustrating an epic or religions event painted on seven-colored titles. The seraglio is located in the back and is allocated    to the convenience of the family members. The building also hosts a large pond in front of it.
The presence of tall and beautiful cypress trees around the garden captures everyone’s attention. The pleasant fragrance of flower along with the song of nightingales and the alluring dance of blossoms enchant the visitor.

In 1980, this garden was converted into botanical garden by shiraz University. Since 1999 a comprehensive project entitled The Reconstruction and Rehabilitation of the Eram Garden implemented by the vice-chancellor for Research has enhanced the beauty and the magic charm of the Eram Garden.

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Copyright: Mohammad Reza Domiri Ganji

History of Eram Garden

Both the building and the garden were built during the middle of nineteenth century by the Ilkhanate or a paramount chief of the Qashqai tribes of Pars. The original layout of the garden however, with its quadripartite Persian Paradise garden (Eram Garden) structure was most likely laid in eighteenth century by the Seljuqs, and was then referred to as the “Bāq e Shāh” (“the king’s garden” in Persian) and was much less complicated or ornamental. Cornelius de Bruyn, a traveller from the Netherlands, wrote a description of the gardens in the eighteenth century.

Over its 150 years the structure has been modified, restored or stylistically changed by various participants. The building faces south along the long axis. It was designed by a local architect, Haji Mohammad Hasan. The structure housed 32 rooms on two stories, decorated by tiles with poems from the poet Hafez written on them. The structure underwent renovation during the Zand and Qajar dynasties.

In 1965, Sir Denis Wright, a British ambassador in Iran, was invited by the Chancellor of Shiraz University, Asadollah Alam, to a party in Eram Garden for Princess Alexandra of the Oglivy. The compound came under the protection of Pahlavi University during the Pahlavi era, and was used as the College of Law. the building housed the Asia Institute.

Today, Eram Garden and building are within Shiraz Botanical Garden (established 1983) of Shiraz University. They are open to the public as a historic landscape garden. They are World Heritage Site, and protected by Iran’s Cultural Heritage Organization.