Bagh-e Fin garden in Iran – restoration and conservation plan

Bagh-e Fin garden in Kashan, Iran

An interesting conservation resulted from shoving myself into the wall of a garden pavilion in order to take this photograph of the Bagh-e Fin garden in Kashan, Iran

When visiting the Bagh-e Fin, on 15th June 2004, one of the curators noticed me in a painful position outside his office. I was taking a photograph. He asked why I was doing it. I said I was interested in garden history. He asked if I thought the Bagh-e Fin was of equal historical importance to the great gardens of Europe. I said ‘Yes – probally more so, because it is the best surviving example of the world’s oldest garden design tradition, originating in the Fertile Crescent’. But, I said, it could be looked after even better than was then the case. ‘What should we do?’, he asked. I said I would make a proposal and send it to him. As we drove north into the desert, I sketched in the back of the car. A friend translated my comment into Farsi and we posted it to him. A reply is still awaited. In case the Bagh-e Fin Conservation Plan has been mislaid, it is now  published it on the Gardenvisit website.

8 thoughts on “Bagh-e Fin garden in Iran – restoration and conservation plan

  1. Edith Hope

    Dear Tom, I was most interested in this posting, and the previous one, as, although seldom acknowledged, the long tradition of English gardening has its roots in the gardens of Ancient Persia. Strangely, this is a reference which I have made in my latest writing about ‘The Laskett’ which I shall publish on my blog on Friday.

    You are absolutely right. They fully deserve restoration and to be cherished thereafter.

  2. Tom Turner Post author

    Thank you, Edith, for your comment. I think there is a connection between English and Persian gardens and my guess is that it will be found, if ever, in the gardens of Mesopotamia. Less is known about Mesopotamian gardens than about, for example, the ancient gardens of Egypt and Iran. But they certainly existed and it is possible that details would come to light if a Sumerian city were to be excavated using sophisticated archaeological and archaeobotanical techniques. I look forward to seeing your blog post.

  3. Tom Turner Post author

    It’s strange. Iran is a country which cares deeply about its cultural heritage – but has never managed it very well. The last Shah decided that Persepolis ‘must’ have had the type of avenue Louis XIV made, and so he planted an avenue. One could say, in defense of the Shah, that the carvings at Persepolis show lines of trees. But they also show tribute bearers coming from afar and the trees could just as well have been planted to protect travellers from the sun as they journeyed through Persia. The Three Kings (Magi) of the Bible were Zoroastrian travellers.

  4. simin

    I am sorry about that, the public authorities in Iran has never managed very well, but i know the best professors in Iran that will be interested of your Benefits suggestion and i have master degree in architecture and i am investigating the persian gardens. Really I would appreciate if i can help you to follow your desire.


  5. Tom Turner Post author

    Thank you. I think that conservation work is in hand at Bagh-e Fin but I fear it is only for the garden itself and not for its setting – which I regard as both very important and a potential tourist attraction.

  6. Teresia Millberg

    I don’t know if this is the forum, but i am in need of help with contacts. I am a Master student in Conservation at the University of Gothenburg, with a Bachelor in garden craft and garden design. I have recieved a scholarship to go to Iran this fall (sept-nov) to do surveys of some of the World Heritage, the Persian Gardens.
    I am very interested in how the maintenance of such historic gardens are maintained and where the focus could lie, with what I am guessing is low budgets. From my experience I find that the expectations of the knowledgde of the gardener is lower now than what the historic gardens asked for. I assume that now, the gardens try to maintain the structure of the gardens as number one, it will be interesting to see. What are your experiences? If anyone could provide advise or thoughts of some sort I would be most greatful!

    1. Tom Turner Post author

      Hello Teresia. I think you are right about garden maintenance – and I think the problem exists almost everywhere. It seems that looking after a garden is just a matter of pulling out weeds, cutting grass, sweeping up leaves, repairing walls etc. But to make a really good job of looking after a garden all these acts need to be (exaggerating a little!) ‘design decisions’. Re the gardens of Iran, we have discussed the problems on this blog from time to time. See the results of this blog search I hope your trip goes well, Tom


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