Historical gardens · Others

The origin of word “paradise”

 

The word “paradise” describes usually a place of everlasting happiness, peace and harmony. It is also a place of wonderful beauty and delight. So in general an ideal dreamed place where everybody would like to stay forever.

The term of “paradise” is also associated with the term “the Garden of Eden” by all three major Abrahamic religions as a perfect place.

The word “paradise” derives from “paridaiza” in an Old Persian / Avesta, which literally means “walled / enclosed“.

To understand why something closed and walled could be connected with paradise (in e.g. European sense of meaning of this word), we have to imagine the arid hot climate in Iranian Plateau (Isfahan, Yazd, Fars or Kerman provinces), known also as a region of ancient Persia.

The earliest evidence of Persian gardens was recorded in the years of the reign of Cyrus the Great (559-30 B.C.). And since that time, a typical layout of old Persian garden, repeated also in following centuries, was a rectangular area surrounded by thick brick walls with water canals and ponds inside, full of trees and shrubs giving a lot of fruits and shadow to visitors.

Just image, how a person could feel when reaching such a place after a long journey through the arid land.

Greek historian Xenophon (who lived at the turn of V-VI centuries BC) introduced the word „paradise” to describe the Persian garden, which he got known during his trips to Persia.

The word “paradise” comes from Old Iranian language, but such gardens, closed by surrounding walls, were not original for this region or even period. In fact, much earlier such gardens existed already in ancient Egypt in period of Old Kingdom, although there are not detailed descriptions of these gardens.

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