Apart from Islamic mosques, bazaars, and ancient palaces, Iranian architecture is characterized by its historical gardens that have roots in the culture and legends of the country, and the humans' desire for the evergreen and lush paradise. The Fin Garden or Bagh-e-Fin is one of the marvelous historical gardens in Iran which is among the nine Persian Gardens designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage site. The stunning Fin Garden is located in Kashan, which is one of the main touristic cities of Iran located 218 kilometers from Isfahan and is home to attractions like fancy historic houses, bathhouses, and also scenic deserts, like Maranjab. The Fin Garden is known as one of the most important attractions of this city and is visited by almost everyone who travels to Kashan.
The History of Fin Garden
Located by the Kashan city, the Fin area was an important spot because of the water spring passing through it. We don't exactly know the antiquity of the Fin Garden and some believe that it dates back to the kingdom of Ardeshir Babakan the Sasanid King, but what is taken for granted is that according to the historical documents this garden was built during the Saffarid Dynasty when it was mentioned as a water spring and garden in the middle of barrens. According to some historians, this garden was constructed during the Buyid Dynasty and according to some others, it was built during the Ilkhanid Dynasty when people had excursions in the garden. In 951 Hijri, during the kingdom of the Shah Tahmasb, the Safavid King, this garden was damaged by an earthquake and its ruins located by the current garden are known as the Bagh-e Kohneh or the Old Garden.
The New Fin Garden was constructed during the 16th century under the rule of Shah Abbas I who built many glorious buildings in the city of Isfahan during his kingdom. The Fin Garden was later restored in the 19th century during the reign of king Fath Ali Shah of the Qajar Dynasty. Fin Garden is also well known to be home to a significant historical tragedy. Amir Kabir, the prime minister to Naser al-Din Shah Qajar and one of the greatest reformists in the whole Qajar period was executed in the bathhouse of the Fin Garden in 1852.
The Architecture of the Fin Garden
Chahar Bagh ( meaning: four-garden) is a term used for the square or rectangular plan of Persian gardens and is based on the description of holy books like the Bible and Torah about paradise. The Fin Garden of Kashan is not an exception and has a Chahar Bagh plan with a pavilion at the intersection and other buildings located within the garden. With an area of thousands of square meters (33700), symmetrical architectural proportions, old cypress trees, spring-fed pools, and canals, and short and tall fountains, the Fin Garden is renowned as an embodiment of an original Persian garden and an amazing memorial of heaven. The water is supplied from a spring sourced from the foothill of the nearby mountains and after flowing into a pool behind the garden, it pours into the pools and ditches inside the garden. The water supply system is very advanced., as the height difference between the pool behind the garden and the canals running through it make fountains through the water upright by the gravity. Also, there are clay pipes one meter below all the pools and they are connected to the main pools from one side and blocked at the other side, and 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 pipes have different diameters and the head is thicker than its end, causing the to pour out of the pipes with an equal amount. The water which passes through the main pool called Howz Joosh flows out of twelve springs, and then it runs through canals decorated with turquoise tiles. The eye-catching color of the tiles is in contrast with the color of the desert surrounding the garden, and the Howz Joosh is a significant pool in Fin Garden ornamented inspired by the design of the world-known Kashan carpets, inscribed as one of the intangible UNESCO Heritages in Iran. The tiles were looted in the early Pahlavi period (1925-1979) and today some of the tiles are exhibited in the Louvre Museum. The circulation of water in the garden has caused the environment to be cool and fresh and has added visual charm and a pleasant sound of flowing water. This garden, which is like a lush oasis, is separated from the surrounding desert by a high mud-brick wall with circular towers.
The architectural structures in Fin Garden represent both Safavid and Qajar styles. The Safavid pavilion which is a two-story pool structure is located at the center of the garden, while the Qajar pavilion, adorned with charming frescos on the ceiling and the walls, is located at the end of the garden and out of the basic symmetry of the garden. There are two bathrooms in the garden, the smaller bathroom belongs to the Safavid period, while the royal bathroom which is much larger dates back to the Qajar Period. There are some other buildings such as the Kashan National Museum building, the Khalvat-e- Karimkhani (Karim Khani Nook), and a room called Shah Neshin, which were all added to the complex during the Qajar period. The Kashan National Museum showcases some potteries from nearby Silak archeological hill, some ceramics, and calligraphy masterpieces, and is worth a quick visit as well.
After visiting the lush Fin Garden which is all about enjoying the sound of water, the singing birds, and the shades of trees, you can take a rest at the tea house located by the Qajarid pavilion and enjoy drinking a cup of Iranian tea or herbal drinks.