History of Islamic Gardens
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Landscape as well as gardens is similar in that same materials are used to develop them. Landscape though is not a garden. Gardens are enclosed have plants designed there and are also organized (Watson, 1995). Gardens have significance among them political, hierarchies as well as orders. In addition, gardens have communicative function that is intended such as wealth and subversive humor for example bagel garden that was owned by Martha Schwartz (Clerk, 2004). On the other hand, there is low maintenance when it comes to landscape. In addition, they occur in large size compared to gardens. Though there have been changes in the nationality as well as nation, the landscape as well as some of the Islamic gardens have not changed (Ruggles, 2000). One of the beliefs of Muslims is that man has the ability to make a garden. According to them, wise men have the ability to create gardens while the realization of such gardens is the work of artists. Islamic gardens have for a long time been developed using the ideological principles that are drawn from Muslim religion. These gardens are also developed with the objective of maintaining Islamic religion. Development of these gardens requires design elements that are distinct. The development of Islamic gardens dates back from 7th century all the way to 16th century. Medina is the first state of Islam to be established. From there, there have been several other states as well as empires that have been developed using Islamic principle. Definition of Muslim is the way Muslim people live (Brookes, 1987). There are several areas around the world where these gardens can be found. Among them include west Asia where we have Turkey, Iran, as well as Arabian Peninsula, South-Eastern Asia in Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Kashmir, and Uzbekistan.
The middle-East countries such as Iraq, Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia, Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine are also home for Islamic gardens. In Europe, there is Spain in areas such as Granada, Seville, Toledo as well as Cordova. There are several other areas across the world where these gardens are available. The elements of these gardens design include court yards, flowers, trees, wall calligraphy, and water features (Ruggles, 2000). The reason why designers of Islamic gardens used water was to emphasis on architectural elements, to add quality that was dynamic, to mask noise that came from outside, to provide sound that was pleasing, for plants irrigation, moistening of dry environment, and also for dusty environment soothing. There are a number of factors that contributed a lot towards designing of Islamic gardens that are historic. Among them include earlier civilization, the use of Holly Quran which mentions gardens 164 times, environment that is arid, and also the Sunnah. Several chapters of the Holly Quran have mentioned about these gardens among them chapter 55, and chapter 27-60th chapter. Islamic faith has a great influence in the design of landscape of Islamic gardens in a number of ways including diversity, multiple use, and individualism. There is a great emphasis in Islamic religion on the ability of man to make a paradise on the earth (Gaillat-Ray, 201).
Despite the many changes as well as influence of modernization, there is possibility to establish these gardens again. Though there have been numerous changes, there have never been breaking of art traditions. Arabs had developed an interest in horticulture from the very beginning (Moynihan, 1980). There was a great emphasis on improvement of soil fertility especially among the residents of town in the ancient Arabic nations. These towns grew to be great cities but the culture of ensuring soil fertility did not end. There was however adoption of civilization that was foreign. This led to common stamp setting o each art. The history of Islamic gardens can be traced back to the period when Samaria town was built (836-876). This town was founded by Mut’tasim who was the son of Haroun-al-Rashid. Canals were dug to draw water from River Tigris. The founder in addition gave all his prefects a portion of land to carry out cultivation on it. There was also importation of trees among them date palms well as vines from Bagdad and Basla. Due to water availability, horticultural activities achieved great success. There was also conversion of various parts in the land of Samaria into houses to be occupied by upper class. A villa was present in each garden and each villa contained ponds, halls as well as playgrounds. There was massive growth of that region and the cost of land rose as the rich embarked on land buying. In addition, there was development of Islamic palaces during that period. In addition, various houses which had been decorated surrounded the palace. The palace faced the river and in front of it were large gardens. Walls enclose the garden that is near the river (Brookes, 1987).
Today, Islamic gardens emerge as being among the most beautiful, stunning, spectacular as well as historic gardens in the world (Jellicoe & Geoffrey, 1991). These gardens have unique characteristics. Among these characteristics include a garden bed which is divided into four parts, water channels which runs through the axial pavements, water being displayed in fountains as well as pools, and presence of verdant plantings which offers scent sensory experience. Islamic Spain palaces on the other hand have a stags-shaped stones and bronze fountain. The shapes also range from elephants, as well as lions. They also have basins which are carved. In many Arabic nations, water scarcity has been historically been a problem. The entire land is dry and thus water has to be drawn from elsewhere (Jellicoe & Geoffrey, 1991). The Alhambra palace that had its location in Ganada region of Spain, water distribution as well as display was well elaborate. The situation was similar in lion courts that were built from around 1370 to around 1390 by Sultan Mohammed V of Nasrid. The water first appeared in basins. This was at the axes terminus points that formed the basis of quadripartite plan. The water then flowed across pavements of the floor then took steps downward to central fountains whose shape was that of a basin made of large stone. The basin was held on top of twelve roaring lion haunches which symbolized the sovereignty of Nasrid. Allusion was also made to the Quuran and Biblical Solomon.
There was plentiful flow of water in the lion’s court and also throughout Alhambra. Piped water reached the site and this was facilitated by aqueducts as well as various channels that were able to draw this water from Sierra Nevada that was nearby. The water coursed through numerous reception halls of the palace, courtyards, as well as bath prior to running downhill where it was used for irrigation as well for drinking by city inhabitants below. Water distribution from mountain top to the palace and to the town represented Granada’s social as well as political hierarchy. Other areas such as Munghai garden that dated back sixteenth century were observed. In gardens of Munghai, there was the use of chini khana as well as chadar devices which were delightful (Moynihan, 1980). There was also organization of space. Water control as well as display had a great meaning in this region as there was a long moment of lack of rainfall. Much of the water harvesting in Islamic gardens occurs during the seasons of rain.
Islamic gardens are features of the Asiatic art that remained so strong enough and always rose often until it was re-established despite of the enormous revolutions and changes among the nations. The tradition of the art never changed despite the changes in nationalities and nations. In the 14th century, Ibn Chaldun an Arabian Writer was perfectly correct about the superiority of East. In his “Orient”, Chaldun wrote about the arts having time to strike a deep root in along the succession of the centuries under new rulers, Nabatæans, Persians, Copts, Greeks, Israelites, and the Romans (Sanders, 2007). All habits of the tastes and sedentary people lives, whereby, the habits were formed but there was a part which was established in these countries and they left behind traces that will never be obliterated. Among the stay at home art was gardening that stood supreme, further, these was so quick in receiving soothing Eastern tradition effect. Nations stepped against each other directly and they learnt their lessons, adding what was already their own (Newton, 1962). As seen, the garden love was clearly born in most Orientals, also, it abundantly exposed its history and the greater part in their life spent there. The riches that were collected from a few hands were enormous and it made it possible, with the help of gardener and architect in procuring satisfaction of their wishes.
Arabs learned all of this, the wandering sons of Islam and desert, when coming to the land of the Eastern conquerors that were going to be conquered. It was very scarce for people to ever show such aptitude of adopting civilization that was foreign, thus setting a very common stamp on each and every art. The pupils of Byzantine art were in Damascus, in the Bagdad of Persian. The teachings of Rome and Hellenism were found in some certain parts of Spain and Northern Africa; and they quickly became the masters and lords wherever they were children. From the beginning, these children had a great interest in the horticulture, mostly in the residence (Sald, 2003).
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