Bagh-i Sa‛adat

 
Catalogue
Safavid Gardens
City
Qazvin
Country
Iran
Dates
1558
Author
Mahvash Alemi

Description

When Shah Tahmasp (1524-1576) decided to transfer his capital from Tabriz to Qazvin, the greatest part of his additions concerned the creation of a garden city (bāghistān) that became famous as Bagh-i Sa‛adat. It was built northeast of the existing city to which it was linked through a promenade, khiyābān and two squares (maydān). After the garden city was completed in 1557, Shah Tahmasp moved from the old palace, known as the dawlatkhānah of Shah Ismail, to the new one. The court poet and historian ‛Abdi Bayk Navidi (1515–1580) was ordered to write an encomium of the royal garden complex in verse. His composition, completed in 1558/1559, contained five long poems, four of which were about the palaces, gardens, flowers, and fruits of Sa‘adat Garden, and one of which focused mostly on the paintings in the royal loggias. Navidi, apart from reflecting the garden aesthetics of the time, describes the layout of the khiyābāns that provided its general structure. The garden complex was accessed through a public promenade (khiyābān) that ran from the Great Mosque to the ‘Ali Qapu Gate. From here, a khiyābān aligned with the former led north inside the royal garden to the Shirvani Saray, the shah’s pleasure pavilion (sarāy-i ‘aysh), placed at the crossing with another khiyābān running east–west. A third khiyābān formed the border along the garden walls.

A drawing by Kaempfer from 1684 shows the khiyābān leading from the ‘Ali Qapu Gate to the Shirvani Saray, located at the crossing with a khiyābān running east to west. He draws also the poles for polo and archery in a maydān east of the pavilion, as well as two other transverse alleys, but does not include the circumferential khiyābān mentioned by Navidi. The drawing shows also a lofty vault and an octagonal shaped area along its western wall. According to Navidi, the garden incorporated a number of buildings in the plots (qat‛ah) formed by its grid. He describes fourteen “plots” east and nine west of the royal loggia that had various square, hexagonal, octagonal, and round shapes as well as a number of tālār. He mentions for each plot the names of their patron or supervisors (sarkār), who were high court officials and royal family members. The gardens were partially built over in the Qajar period (1785–1924). Today only a small part of the garden with a pavilion and the ‘Ali Qapu Gate building survive. 

 

Sources

  • Travel Account, 1684
  • Court Chronicle, 1539–1543