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Overview of the Early Islamic Gardens of Greater Syria Catalogue

Overview | Search the Early Islamic Gardens of Greater Syria | Introduction (Original PDF)

Garden area and garden kiosk at al-Rusafa (Sergiopolis), Syria.

This catalogue lists and illustrates seven of the earliest known and documented gardens of the Islamic world between the eighth and ninth centuries. These were all located around modern-day Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq, and were part of the Ummayad and Abbasid palace complexes. None of these gardens survives, so all information provided in the entries relies on written accounts contemporary to the gardens, such as al-Yaqubi’s ninth-century Buldan [Countries] and al-Khatib al-Baghdadi’s eleventh-century Tarikh-i Baghdad [History of Baghdad], or on contemporary archaeological work performed on hydraulic remains (Herzfeld, Creswell, and Northedge). Entries emphasize the location of the cultivated gardens vis-à-vis the availability of water sources (rivers, aqueducts, basins, channels, and fountains) as well as their intriguing mediatory positions between the private quarters and the more public spaces (monumental baths, mosques, and audience halls) of the individual palaces. The architectural remains of these gardens have signal the development of a tradition that would prevail in much of the later Islamic world.