In many parts of the world, gardens have been created to serve as a retreat.
Persian gardens are divided into two crossed axes, forming four
quadrants. This symbolizes a belief that the universe is divided
by four great rivers. Irrigation provides formal pools, and fountains
add a musical dimension. High walls and beautiful
flower gardens create shade and beauty.
This was the design that surrounded the Taj Mahal. As visitors
approach the Taj Mahal, they enter through a red
sandstone gate that is over 100 feet .
It contains etchings from the Koran that were done in black
calligraphy. The gate was originally lined with silver, but it was
replaced with copper when the silver was stolen in the eighteenth century.
The gate and adjoining walls contain a geometrically laid out garden that
is approximately 1,002 feet on each side. Beautiful flower gardens
surround the paths. The garden itself symbolizes paradise.
Canals divide it into four sections. Water is an important part of
the plan. In the center is a long reflecting
pool that offers a perfect reflection
of the central building. Cypress trees, which are symbolic of death,
line the pools. All of this beauty pays tribute to Mumtaz Mahal,
Shah Jahan's wife.