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Middle East Garden Traditions

This web-based research tool offers selected catalogues, glossaries, and bibliographies on Umayyad, Abbasid, Andalusian, Ottoman, Mughal, North African, and Safavid gardens from the eighth century to the present.

Drawing by Mahvash Alemi.
Drawing by Mahvash Alemi.

An international roster of garden and landscape historians have culled invaluable inventories from temporally and regionally diverse primary source materials, which they believed would be indispensable to researchers in the early stages of their academic inquiries or course design. Moreover, the regional, architectural, and horticultural diversity of the sites outlined in these inventories also allows for researchers to take comparative approaches to the study of garden cultures of the larger Mediterranean and Islamic world.

This project, which was originally created in between 2004 and 2007, is related to a symposium that was jointly sponsored by Dumbarton Oaks and the Freer and Sackler Galleries and the subsequent publication of a volume of essays: Middle East Garden Traditions: Unity and Diversity; Questions, Methods and Resources in a Multicultural Perspective, edited by Michel Conan (Washington D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks; distributed by Harvard University Press, 2007).

In 2023, the tool was migrated to, an online resource of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) and the Aga Khan Documentation Center in the MIT Libraries (AKDC@MIT), to expand access and broaden opportunities for enrichment. Click here to view the collection on ARCHNET.