Fin Garden in Kashan | Perfect Representative of Persian Gardens
Brief History of Fin Garden
It may sound like an exaggeration, but Fin garden could be a symbol of endurance. Facing many political invasions and natural disasters, the Persian paradise proved it’s standing strong.
Fin garden is the perfect representative of Persian gardens and similar to Narenjestan Garden and Eram Garden in Shiraz, Dowlatabad Garden in Yazd, and Shazdeh Garden in Kerman, it is a masterpiece combining natural and man-made elements.
The original Fin garden is believed to date back to a thousand years ago. Its heyday started when Shah Ismael I, the founder of Safavid dynasty, was crowned here, but in 1561, an earthquake destroyed the whole garden. However, in 1579 the garden we know now was built under the reign of Shah Abbas l of Safavid in a part of the old garden which was actually so much bigger. The remains of the old garden can be seen a couple of hundreds of meters from the current garden. It was developed further during the Safavid dynasty until the reign of Abbas II of Persia (1633-1666). Afghans invasion also resulted in the loss of power and importance for the garden. But it got back into power in the reign of Karim Khan Zand. Yet another earthquake happened in 1771 causing another destruction and then again in 1779, Fath Ali Shah from Qajar dynasty ordered the reconstruction of Fin Garden and it was highly expanded.
The Mysterious Water Supplying System
In 1935, Bagh-e_Fin was listed as a national property of Iran. In 2007, it was submitted to the UNESCO’s Tentative List. Then in 2012, UNESCO declared the garden a World Heritage Site.
Though the garden is surrounded by a deserted area where water is scarce, inside the garden water runs through the canals and pools with abundant and as you may expect from a Persian garden, water is among the main elements of its architecture and could be considered the soul of the place since you’ll notice the voice of water flowing or plenty of fountains as soon as you enter the place.
Some compare Fin to Alhambra in Granda, Spain and call it the smaller version of Alhambra which is reasonable considering the history of Spain and the Muslims invasion and its effect on architecture.
The water is supplied from a spring called Soleymanieh that heads toward a pool behind the garden, and then it enters the garden. The local tradition attributes the discovery of the spring to Solomon the Prophet, emphasizing not only its ancient history but also some mysterious features about it. The spring source is still unknown and the temperature and flow of the water remain unchanged throughout the year. It also contains a high amount of mercury which makes it non-drinkable, but it’s believed to be good for bathing.
It’s said that one day on the road to Isfahan, Avicenna stopped over in Fin Garden. When he tasted the water of the Soleimaniyeh Spring, he told his apprentice that they were going to stay in this place for a while as he was certain people were ill here, after having regularly drunk this water. The locals, having learned that the famous doctor was staying in the area, sent him a basket of local pomegranates as a gift. At the same time, Avicenna decided to go back since he believed people were healthy, eating pomegranates as an antidote.
As for the architecture, the water supplying system is the most unique feature since it’s so sophisticated. There are clay pipes one meter beneath all the pools that 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 diameters of the pipes 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.
Fountains with an equal amount of waterThe water within the main pool called Howz-e Joosh throws out of twelve springs within it, and then it runs through canals ornamented with turquoise tiles. The height difference between the pool behind the garden and the canals running through it make fountains throw the water upright by the gravity. 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. Well either one of them, the design is just next level.
When we call the system sophisticated, it’s to a point that even architects of recent age can’t fully understand it. Once the British 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.
The interior paintings, of which currently only a strip of the ceiling’s border remains, are the work of Aqa Reza Kashani, who had also carried out the decoration of the Ali Qapu and Chehel Sotun palaces in Isfahan and acquired worldwide renown as Reza Abbasi. Also, Shotorgalu-ye Qajari which is one of the main pavilions is adorned with precious paintings executed by the artists of the Ghaffan family, the ancestors of Kamal al-Molk, the most famous contemporary painter. Water canals are also decorated by special blue and green tiles inspired by Persian carpet designs.
The assassination of Amirkabir, minister of Qajar dynasty
Besides all the disasters the garden had faced, one historical event could manage to make it the most notorious garden in Iran. And that event is the assassination of Mirza Taghi Khan known as Amirkabir, the most beloved and well-known minister of Qajar dynasty (reign of Naser al-Din Shah) in Fin bath resulting in the connection of Fin name with a tragic betrayal forever.
There are two baths in the garden known as the small and large ones. The small one was constructed in the Safavid era and recognized as crew bathroom and used by the general population. On the other hand, the large one was built in the time of Fath Ali Shah from Qajar dynasty and known as the royalty bathroom. Both bathrooms are open to visitors as museums nowadays. There is also a museum in the garden that contains precious historical objects. Despite being small, it is worth a quick visit.
But don’t just rush out after visiting all the historical and architectural wonders. Take your time to sit down in the Cafe located in the garden and order a cup of tea or a glass of various Persian non-alcoholic drinks while listening to the sound of water or the wind moving through the trees.
*Written by Nafise Asadollahi.
|Official Website: N/A||Entrance fee: 500.000 IRR|
|Wikipedia: Click here||Name(s) in Persian: باغ فین|
|UNESCO Website: N/A||Public transportation availability: Yes|
|Province: Kashan|| Accommodation availability: Yes|
|Phone: +9831 55302010||Facilities: Yes|
|Working days: All days||Restaurant & Cafe availability: Yes|
|Opening hours: 9:00 AM-5:00 PM||Best time to visit: Spring|