Char Bagh Avenue, Isfahan: genesis and demise. Pre-Islamic and Islamic garden influences in the Safavid creation and history of its subsequent degeneration

Ahmadi, M., 2016. Char Bagh Avenue, Isfahan: genesis and demise. Pre-Islamic and Islamic garden influences in the Safavid creation and history of its subsequent degeneration. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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One of the most significant elements in the reconstruction of the historical Iranian city of Isfahan during the Safavid period (late-sixteenth century to late-seventeenth century) was the institution of the Chahar Bagh Avenue and its surrounding gardens. Inextricably attached to the creation of this great public space was the theme of the paradisiacal garden – an enclosure complete with landscaping and planting – tended and watered, which excluded the wilderness. The Garden ultimately resulted in a remarkable synthesis of political views expressed through Safavid architectural, artistic and urban representations. Cultural concepts underpinned by religious beliefs and insights derived from an ancient tradition that predated the advent of Islam played a pivotal role in progressing garden-making ideas over time. The Avenue has continued to characterize the urban pattern of Isfahan; today it remains the most prominent town axis that continues to retain a dialectical relationship between the now-transformed gardens and the ever-evolving city. Focusing on the Chahar Bagh Avenue’s physical configuration – Shah Abbas’ (1598-1602 CE) masterpiece – this thesis traces the genealogy of how intangible and tangible features were employed in the design of the Chahar Bagh to synthesize complex ideas of garden design that had evolved over time. The thesis considers diverse examples of gardens to define this genealogy – from the pre-Islamic gardens of the Achaemenids and Sassanids to the Islamic gardens of the Middle East, Spain, Morocco, Italy and central Asia, as well as the Mughal gardens of India – to identify changes within continued parameters involved in this evolution. Based on the hypothesis that adherence to the Qur’anic image of Paradise was an important aspect of the Safavid period, this thesis investigates and explores the possible influence of two factorial categories on the planning of the Chahar Bagh Avenue and, in particular, the design of the formal quartered gardens of the Chahar Bagh. Of these the first is the impact of the ancient and Islamic Persian garden pattern, and the second is the representation of Paradise in the Qur’an and the impact of the celestial image of Paradise as depicted in the Islamic Persian gardens. The thesis also chronicles the Chahar Bagh’s eventual degeneration into an urban artery in the post-Safavid period under the Qajar dynasty (1878-1925) and the various attempts at its partial preservation under the Pahlavids (1925-1979).

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Ahmadi, M.
Date: January 2016
Rights: This work is the intellectual property of the author. You may copy up to 5% of this work for private study, or personal, non-commercial research. Any re-use of the information contained within this document should be fully referenced, quoting the author, title, university, degree level and pagination. Queries or requests for any other use, or if a more substantial copy is required, should be directed to the owner of the Intellectual Property Rights.
Divisions: Schools > School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 14 Mar 2017 14:03
Last Modified: 14 Mar 2017 14:03

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