Spirit of Place in Persian Garden*

Document Type : Research Article



“And those who believed (in the Oneness of Allah and His Messengers and whatever they brought) and did righteous deeds, will be made to enter Gardens under which rivers flow, - to dwell therein forever (i.e. in Paradise), with the permission of their Lord. Their greeting therein will be: Salam (peace!) ” (Surah Ibrahim: 23) During the last century, the place term with a wide range of meanings, is described virtually in all architectural spaces. Creating place has given embodiment to human’s morality and beliefs and has had a deep connection with the realm of human existence and his relationship with his surroundings. Therefore, studying the way human communicates with nature restricted in field of landscape, and identifying the type of these formed relationship, are the first step in scrutinizing the concept of place. On the other hand, Persian Garden as an excellent example of Iran’s landscape is the image of Islamic-Iranian human beliefs through the history which is still reminisced as a successful pattern despite the hardships.. If there is a speech about Iranian landscape, perhaps the first and only word that will come to minds is Persian Garden that despite much research about it, today it does not have a good place in designing landscape architecture. Numerous researches have already studied about the concept of place; from among of them Schulz has spatial classification in natural and man-made places. Schulz’s categorizations discusses about patterns for distinguishing Spirit of place. In this issue, we study Schultz’s visions about place, sprit of place and compare them with Islamic view about relationship between human and nature. The results of this comparison showed that segregation points of this thinking situate in human religious dimensions and their effects on Persian gardens design. In spite of these differences, studying different viewpoints could be useful for finding out the structures of the spirits of Persian garden and Characters of its elements. Persian Garden, despite its disguise values, is known only by its physical geometry; although this geometry is strong, thoughtful, and results of the principles of irrigation and agriculture and does not have little importance; but studying it only and without paying attention to other identity former features and concepts such as place, spirit of place (Genius loci), its sacred quality and etc. that has caused continuity of Persian Garden at different ages; is a nominal imitation and an incomplete job. Also studying lonely the elements of Persian Garden without attention to their relationship with each other and with the emergence of the concepts of the garden, can reduce the reliability and durability in many years. Certainly importance of the holistic views to human and existence phenomenon, relevance of Garden’s elements and quality associated with elements placed together, can perform a key role in identifying effective factors in enhancing the understanding of spirit of place (sense of place) in Persian Garden. Therefore, this study attempts to identify eligible qualities of concepts of spirit of place in Persian Garden by discussing the elements of Persian Garden, and their comparison with the concepts and elements of place. This paper uses, by a review of human relationship with nature and showing the relationship that leads to creation of spirit of place in Persian Garden and analysis of garden elements with each other using phenomenological approach to the concept of place and Persian garden since the authors believe) that separation of man and environment is despicable) is seeking to answer the following question: Which environmental qualities of Persian Garden make it a container of spirit of place? The method in this research is, descriptive, analytical and an instrument of collecting data is the library. In this study, to determine the position of man in relation to nature and its capture by human, first the types of human relation with the nature is examined and position of Persian Garden in human’s reaction to nature ( as soul of place ) is expressed. Then with attention to the concepts of structure and meaning, to achieve the spirit of place in Persian Garden is analyzed by the phenomenological approach and characteristics of each are recognized separately. According to the present approach, our structure and relationships between the elements of Persian Garden is noteworthy and it is avoided to point out directly to some elements of garden (although important). The results showed that each of the components of garden have a great role in instilling a sense of place to the audience not only for having known qualities, but also for having theological and sacred qualities as well as meaning and history. Concepts such as enclosure, distribution, geometry and space, which have been created through the relations betweenof the elements of Persian Garden, do have material and moral qualities that make Persian Garden eligible of sense of place (spirit of place).