Beside palaces or other political or religious monuments there are some other places, built for excursions. They used to be convenient places near the cities. Sometimes, they had a special architectural style which are known with those features. In Shiraz, there are some of those cozy places, remained for centuries. One of them, which is the most important one, is a famous garden within the city. It is Eram garden and together, we will visit this amazing garden.
About 900 years ago during Seljuq era, the local governor of shiraz ordered to build a garden, Eram garden, to the north west of the city near Khorram river, today known as dry river as it is dry most parts of the year. Actually it was built within another garden known as Ferdos garden, the name is derive from Paradise which is rooted in ancient Iran. In fact at that time, four gardens were built in Shiraz, Eram garden, Delgosha garden, Jahan Nama garden and Takht garden. After the annihilation of Seljuqs Eram garden had not been in a good condition till the 19th century that it was bought by the head of the Qashqai tribe. A bit later Nasir Almolk, one of the dignitary of Shiraz, whom ordered to build Pink mosque, had bought the garden. Also, he ordered to build a pavilion in the garden. Historians believe that it was built instead of the older one. But after a while Qashqai tribe owned Eram garden for the second time. Later it was usurped by the government and gifted to the queen. Finally, the garden gifted to the university of shiraz and it has been ruled by the university so far, now it is a botanical garden.
The sketch of the garden is rooted in ancient Iran as it is a Persian Garden. According to this style, normally Persian gardens have rectangular plans divided into different sections, usually 4 sections and each section is separated by the streams of water. In fact they were used for irrigating. Actually, the water was supplied by a series of Qantas, an Iranian system of transporting water. Also, as it mentioned it is a botanical garden with different types of plants. In the garden there are some productive trees such as; persimmon, sour orange, pomegranate or some non-productive trees like; cypress. In addition there are different types of flowers, specially roses, in the garden. Although the history of the garden refers to 900 years ago, the oldest three at last is about 300 years old. Moreover, the main characteristic of Eram garden is a cypress tree which is the oldest and tallest of its kind in Shiraz, known as “Sarv-e naz Shiraz”.
The existence of a pavilion is another feature of Persian gardens. It is normally, located at the interceptions.
The present building was built during the 19th century. Yhis pavilion has two stories and a basement and located to the west of garden. At the top of the edifice there are five pediments decorated with astonishing tile workings. In the middle one there are different religious or cultural scenes. In the middle, a man is riding a white horse. According to his crown he is the Qajar king, Naseraldin Shah. Probably the owner wanted to show his obedience and it is the sign of an apple polishing act. In the upper part two audience scenes are depicted, Joseph the prophet and the Iranian myth Rostam. Joseph is entering to a meeting which was held by Zuleika, the Egyptian noblewoman whom loved Joseph. Because other Egyptian noblewomen blamed Zuleika for falling in love with Joseph as he was her servant. So to clean her guiltiness, she invited them to her meeting. When they were pealing fruits, Joseph entered. As they were intoxicated in the beauty of Joseph, they cut their hands unintentionally. In the lower corners there other scenes. To the left, Shirin, an Iranian woman, is taking bath in a spring. In the meantime, Khosro, the king, was returning from hunting, and felt in love with her at first glance. To the right a hunting scene is depicted. During post Islamic period it had been a custom among each king or governor to pretend as the successors of ancient kings and showing a haunting scene is such a symbol, ancient kings always loved haunting specially Sassanids. Beside, on the adjunct pediments you can see the king is fighting against a monster, an animal with a horn, or the struggle between a leopard and a gazelle. These are adopted from the relieves in Persepolis. As it mentioned, the pavilion has 2 levels with a beautiful portico in the middle. It is decorated with tile workings and stucco works with arabesque and floral designes. At the bottom there are tall cornices with some inscriptions of poems, one is about the construction of the building. Also two soldiers are depicted, again the same as Achamanid soldiers in Persepolis, holding a spear in a military guard. In addition the present mansion is the museum of precious stones. In front of the pavilion there is a pool. It used to be connected with another pool in the basement which was used like a cooling system.
About its name there are lots of rumors, such as it is adopted by the name of an Arabic garden, but it is not true and it is not clear where the name is originated. Anyway, Eram garden is one the most visited places in Shiraz, even by natives as there is an amazing atmosphere in the garden. It is registered in the UNESCO’s world heritage list among 9 Persian gardens.