Probably dating from as far back as the Sassanid period, the Delgosha ("Heart's Ease") Garden has been recorded as a promenade since at least the Timurid period. The garden was expanded throughout the Safavid reign but was burnt down in 1744 by Nader Shah's troops during the revolt of Taqi Khan Shirazi, the ambitious Governor-general of Fars.
The garden was replanted during the Zand rule. In 1790, Hajj Ibrahim Khan Etemad al-Dowleh worked out the scheme of water canals, their allotment to the alleys, and the design of the watercourse and gushing fountains of the garden, fed by the same qanat that waters the compound of Saadi's Mausoleum. In 1820, Reza Qoli Mirza, son of Fathali Shah Qajar, enlarged the area and built a pavilion here. By the mid-19th century, the territory was enclosed by a high mud wall with an entrance portal of mud brick. The work was undertaken at the order of Hajj Mirza Ali Akbar Qavam al-Molk. He also expanded the building, which became one of the hereditary mansions of the Qavam family.
Four wide lanes, stretching from the pavilion to the garden walls, were positioned so as to create the traditional layout of the Iranian formal garden. These lanes were lined by cypresses, date-palms, and pines, while the remaining area was planted with citrus trees, for which this garden is particularly famed. With an area of about 75,000 sq.m the garden is still very pleasant, but its building lies in waste. The structure, three-storied on the front and two-storied in the rear section, overlooks the garden and its watercourse through a portico upheld by two graceful pillars. The first floor is occupied by a spacious octagonal hall with a pool and four deep alcoves. A balcony juts out at about half the alcoves' height, forming the upper floor. The second floor also features a large hall, decorated during the Qajar period with oil paintings; unfortunately, most of them have disappeared. The rear part of the building is topped by an attractive dome that has a skylight and vent in the middle. The garden may be closed in April - May when the blossoms of the sour-orange trees are being collected.
The Gardens of Shiraz
Shiraz in ancient times possessed large and pleasant gardens, which, unfortunately, through the revolutions and invasions of the past centuries, have disappeared, and of many of them nothing but their name in history remains. The natural situations, the equable climate, and the sunshine in Shiraz caused such gardens of travelers this is confirmed by the statements in past centuries, such as John Fryer, who came here in 1672, and writers as follows:
«In our stay, we had an opportunity to observe Shiraz, not only by fame but indeed to be, second to none, except the royal city in the whole Empire. The stately gardens and summer-houses are out of the town, whither resort those invited either by curiosity or recreation; the most famous of which we visited, under whose shady bowers we were feasted from the heel of every day till midnight. Among which, that, honored with the royal claim, and therefore styled the King’s Garden, deservedly carries the luster from the rest, and though everyone share in some excellency or other, yet this comprehends them all in one, being a large map of the whole. Here grow the loftiest cypresses in the universe. The nightingale, the sweet harbinger of the light, is a constant cheerer of these groves, charming with warbling strains the heaviest soul into a pleasing ecstasy.
Among the numerous Shiraz gardens, a few that are larger and older are here referred to - Bágh-i-Delgushá (the exhilarating garden); Bágh-i-Eram (the Garden of Paradise); Bágh-i-Afífábád (the Garden of the Abode of Chastity), sometimes called Bágh-i-Gulshan.
The Bágh-i-Khalílí also is a newly laid-out garden which on account of the keen interest of its owner, Mr.Muhammad Khalil Khalili, who is one of the well-known horticulturists of Iran, is as far as the variety of its flowers goes, one of the best and most beautiful gardens of Shiraz. The owner, who has excellent taste, has endeavored, by spending much time and money, to introduce from other countries every kind of flower that might flourish in the Shiraz climate, and to grow and cultivate them here. And though the area of the garden compared with the number of the flowers and fruit-trees is small, and it lacks the spacious vistas of the Bágh-i-Eram and the Bágh-i-‘Afífábád, yet the plentiful display of flowers and fine fruit dispels this deficiency and makes it a garden unique of its kind. In the Bágh-i-Eram there are many cypresses, one of which in height and proportion is unexampled in its own field, and worthy to be called the King of Cypresses.