Fin Garden in Kashan, a great sample of Persian gardens
Fin Garden or Bagh-e-Fin is a great Persian garden and as one of the nine Persian gardens registered on UNESCO world heritage list, it is located in Kashan, Isfahan. As a historical garden and one of the most visited tourist attractions in Isfahan province just like tourist attractions such as Naqsh-e-Jahan square or Chehelsotun. It attracts many tourists and travelers from around the world. The history of the garden dates back to the Safavid dynasty in the 16th century and restored in the 19th century. This garden is believed to have been constructed during the early part of the Safavid dynasty, while it continued to be developed over time. It was highly recognized and expanded during the reign of Fat′h Ali Shah Qajar in the 19th century. The origin of the garden may be anterior to the Safavid period; however, no valid document is available. The settlements of the garden in its present form were built under the reign of Abbas I of Persia (1571-1629). Travel to Iran and visit Fin Garden in Kashan, a great sample of Persian gardens.
The plan of the Fin Garden is a kind of elaborated chahar bagh with a pavilion at the intersection and other buildings are located within the garden. As a traditional chahar bagh with an area of thousands of square meters, it is surrounded by trees, shrubs, water flows, and a high curtain wall with circular towers separating this oasis from the surrounding desert. Fin Garden is also famous for a historic tragedy. Amir Kabir, the chief minister to Naser al-Din Shah Qajar and one of the most innovative in the whole Qajar period was murdered in Fin Garden in 1852. Fin Garden was first registered as a national property and later it was registered as one of the UNESCO world heritage sites. Some believe that Ghiyāth al-Dīn Jamshīd Kāshānī who was a Persian astronomer and mathematician has been the designer of the garden, while some say it was the great art of Sheikh Bahaei who was a Shia Islamic scholar, philosopher, architect, mathematician, astronomer, and poet who lived in the late 16th and early 17th centuries.
Fin Garden as a splendid sample of Persian gardens exhibits a good combination of nature, culture, history, and architecture. All architectural elements are elaborately applied to make a masterpiece that absorbs eyes for long times. Persian gardens are mainly located in the heart of deserts and seeing such amazing green places in hot and arid areas would keep travelers in awe.
The construction of the pavilion in the middle of the garden along with two dynamic elements of trees and water flow altogether bring about the identity for this cultural and historical attraction. Water plays a vital role in the design of Fin Garden.
Though the garden appears lush, it is surrounded by a desert landscape where water is scarce. However, inside the garden, the water runs through pools and canals with abundant beauty.The water is supplied from a spring that heads toward a pool behind the garden, and then it enters the garden. The height difference between the pool behind the garden and the canals running through it make fountains throw the water upright by the gravity. The water supply system is very sophisticated. There are clay pipes one meter beneath all the pools and they are connected to the main pools from one side and blocked at the other side. The water runs through the clay pipes; however, it throws out of the fountains because the ends of the pipes are blocked. Since the ground is sloping and in order to divide the pressure, the pipes diameters have been built differently from each other. The pipe head is thicker than its end; therefore, water throws out of pipes with an equal amount. The water within the main pool called Howz Joosh throws out of twelve springs within it, and then it runs through canals ornamented with turquoise tiles. The eye-catching color of the tiles is in contrast with the color of desert surrounding the garden.
Howz Joosh is a great pool in Fin Garden. It was covered by tiles inspired by the design of Kashan carpets. The tiles were looted in the early Pahlavi period and today some of the tiles are exhibited in the Louvre Museum. Once the Britains attempted to restore the pool, but they failed to do so. Professor Pirnia- Iranian architecture professor- also wanted to restore the pool, but after demolishing one corner of the pool, he noticed clay pipes beneath each of the holes. The calculations for the pipes and their sizes were so complicated that he stopped manipulating and declared that he could not restore it. Water flow not only cools the environment in hot seasons but also provides tranquility for humans through its soft sound.
As one of the most beautiful Persian gardens, Fin Garden of Kashan is also surrounded by trees and shrubs. Tall trees are planted along its pathways. The tall trees and the abundance of water are in contrast to the hot desert surrounding the garden. There are hundreds of cypresses plus several plane trees in Fin Garden. Regarding the old age of trees, it seems that the evergreen cypresses are the main trees of Fin Garden while planting a few plane trees was considered to enhance the visual quality. Moreover, in Persian language cypress is the symbol of human’s beauty. The trees are approximately 100 to 470 years old. It embraces other flowers such as lilies, eglantine, jasmine, violets, and tulips. In constructing the garden, symmetry has been a very important factor, while gradually the symmetry was disrupted and some sidewalks and buildings were added to Fin Garden complex.
Similar to Narenjestan Garden and Eram Garden in Shiraz, Dowlatabad Garden in Yazd, and Shazdeh Garden in Kerman, Fin Garden is a masterpiece combining natural and man-made elements. The architectural structures represent both Safavid and Qajar styles. The Safavid pavilion (Kushk) is located at the center of the garden, while the Qajar Kushk decorated with beautiful paintings on the ceiling and the walls is located at the end of the garden and out of the basic symmetry of the garden. The small bathroom and Emarat-e-Sardar (an entrance building) belong to the Safavid period, while the royal bathroom, national museum, Khalvat-e- Karimkhani (Karim Khani Nook) and the room called Shah Neshin are added to the complex during the Qajar period. Kashan National Museum is worth a quick visit as well. It showcases some ceramics and calligraphy. However, the most exquisite highlight is the shah’s delightful shotor gelou that is a two-story pool house in the middle of the complex.
Beside the small bathroom constructed in the Safavid period, there is also a large bathroom (Hammam) which was built during the Qajar period. It was in the small bathroom that Amir Kabir was murdered in 1852. Amir Kabir served as the prime minister of Nasar al-din Shah, a ruler of the Qajar Dynasty from 1848 to 1851. He made significant changes especially in the fields of education and administration. These actions made the prime minister popular, but he provoked the anger of the royal family. Finally, the Shah was persuaded to dismiss Amir Kabir. He was imprisoned in the Fin Garden and later he was murdered in 1852. After the murder, with such a tragic association, the garden went into a decline until it was named a national monument and restored in 1935.
To have a perfect day in Fin Garden, do not forget to visit Fin Garden tea-house near the source of the spring. The water is full of fish and it is shaded with an abundance of trees. Travel to Iran and enjoy visiting one of the most beautiful examples of Persian architecture. Stroll around and listen to the peaceful sound of running water and the whistling sound of leaves.