Byzantine gardens

Byzantine Gardens

Byzantine gardens

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Byzantium undoubtedly occupies an important place in the history of garden design. The city, which became Istanbul, was capital of the Eastern Roman Empire and survived for a thousand years after the fall of the Western Roman Empire. The gardens of Byzantium were however mostly destroyed after the fifteenth century Turkish conquest.

Byzantine gardens were based largely on Roman ideas emphasizing elaborate mosaic designs, a typical classical feature of neatly arrayed trees as well as man made structures such as fountains and small shrines which gradually grew to become more elaborate as time passed. Byzantine gardens developed a distinct style of their own however, drawing upon Oriental, and in particular Islamic influences of the time from the near East and North Africa. Some elements of Moorish influence are somewhat tangible, particularly concerning the aforementioned fountain design, but also Persian Gardens had a distinct influence, emphasizing a common theme in Byzantine Culture, that of the clash of colours.

Little else is known about Byzantine gardens however, and very few references, let alone entire Treatises exist on the subject. The Byzantines, like their Greco-Roman predecessors, attached great importantance to such matters of aesthetics, but throughout the whole of Greco-Roman History the Garden never seemed to occupy the place of prestige in its culture that it occupied in the East, as their roots are largely drawn from the more practical purposes of Olive Tree...
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