Shazdeh Garden meaning Prince’s Garden is a historical Persian garden located near (6km away from) Mahan in Kerman province, Iran. Mahan is a city in and capital of Mahan District, in Kerman County, Kerman Province, Iran.
Mahan is well-known for the tomb of the great Sufi leader Shah Ne’emat Ollah-e-Vali, as well as Shazdeh Garden (Prince’s Garden).
The tomb of Shah Nur-eddin Nematollah Vali, poet, sage, Sufi and founder of an order of dervishes, has twin minarets covered with turquoise tiles from the bottom up to the cupola. The mausoleum was built by Ahmad Shah Kani; the rest of the building was constructed during the reigns of Shah Abbas I, Mohammad Shah Qajar and Nasser-al-Din Shah. Shah Nematallah Vali spent many years wandering through central Asia perfecting his spiritual gifts before finally settling at Mahan, twenty miles south-east of Kerman, where he passed the last twenty five years of his life. He died in 1431, having founded a Darvish order which continues to be an active spiritual force today. The central domed burial vault at Mahan, completed in 1437 was erected by Ahmad Shah Bahmani, king of the Deccan, and one of Shah Nematallah’s most devoted disciples.
Shazdeh garden is 5.5 hectares with a rectangular shape and a wall around it. It consists of an entrance structure and gate at the lower end and a two-floor residential structure at the upper end. The distance between these two is ornamented with water fountains that are engined by the natural incline of the land.
The garden is a fine example of Persian gardens that take advantage of suitable natural climate.
The garden was built originally for Mohammad Hasan Khan Qajar Sardari Iravani ca.1850 and was extended ca.1870 by Abdolhamid Mirza Naserodollehand during the eleven years of his governorship in the Qajar dynasty. The construction was left unfinished, due to the death of Abdolhamid Mirza in the early 1890s.
Built in the traditional style in the late 1900s, the Garden consists of pools in a terraced fashion. It is rumored that upon hearing the news of the Governor’s death, the masons immediately abandoned their work and as a result the main entrance still shows some unfinished areas. Its location was selected strategically as it was placed on the way between the Bam Citadel and Kerman.
Other than the main residential building, at its entrance the Garden also consists of a two-storied building for which the second floor was used as living quarters and for receiving guests. Other smaller utility rooms are situated along the sides of the Garden. Amongst them a few side entrances also connect the Garden to the outside.
Water fountains can be seen over the land flowing from the upper ends toward lower ends on a water cascade style at Shazdeh Garden. These fountains look very beautiful and have been provided impetus by the natural incline of the place.
The clever use of the natural climate of the land can be seen in this garden which is the primary aspect of every Persian garden.
The garden itself consists of a variety of pine, cedar, elm, buttonwood and fruit trees which benefit from the appropriate soil, light breezes and qanat water enable such an environment in contrast to its dry surroundings.
As a result of the 6.4% slope along the garden, and its 407 meter length, a height difference of about 20 meters occurs. This natural slope has led to divisions in the garden defining the nature of the garden.
The water enters the Garden at the upper end and while irrigating the trees and plants along its way, flows down through a series of steps and falls.
On the two ends of the water path, meaning at the main entrance and the residential structure, there’s a pool that collects and subsequently redistributes the water. All together from top to bottom there are 8 levels/falls along the water path.
The vital resource of Shahzadeh garden is streams originating from adjacent mountains. Tigran qanat, originating from Joupar altitudes, is the water supply of this garden. This stream flows into the garden from the highest level and constitutes the garden’s designed irrigation system.
The selection and configuration of plants in Mahan Shahzadeh garden plays a determinative role in the garden’s identity.
The water’s overall stream along the garden’s main axis and the waterfalls and their sounds, have contributed to a high quality for this axis.
Tree reflections, the façade structure and the gazebo have contributed to a relaxing feel about the garden, one of peace and solitude. Light and shade play a significant role in this landscaping.
In 1991, the premises were completely renovated due to the commemoration ceremony of Khaju Kermani. A traditional guesthouse has been constructed in the city center for the use of tourists and visitors.
Some damage to the Garden was caused as a result of Kerman’s 2004 earthquake.
In 2005 experts of the Research Center for Historical Sites and Structures were preparing documents to register Shazdeh Garden, amongst other gardens, on the UNESCO World Heritage List and the Garden was finally inscribed in June of 2011.