The Singapore Botanic Gardens was recently named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, joining 11 other newly-inscribed sites announced at the 39th session of the World Heritage Committee held in Bonn, Germany.
In particular, SBG’s bid was noted for its “well-prepared” nomination dossier, which means that in the Singapore context, Singapore was extremely diligent in doing our homework.
Here are some other UNESCO World Heritage Sites that are also gardens. A number of these are also noted to have experienced some destruction since they were listed by UNESCO.
Palace and Gardens of Schönbrunn, Austria
The site of the Palace and Gardens of Schönbrunn is outstanding as one of the most impressive and well preserved Baroque ensembles of its kind in Europe. Additionally, it is a potent material symbol of the power and influence of the House of Habsburg over a long period of European history, from the end of the 17th to the early 20th century.
The site is exceptional by virtue of the evidence that they preserve of modifications over several centuries that vividly illustrate the tastes, interests, and aspirations of successive Habsburg monarchs.
Summer Palace, an Imperial Garden in Beijing, China
Mainly dominated by Longevity Hill and the Kunming Lake, The Summer Palace in Beijing integrates numerous traditional halls and pavilions into the Imperial Garden conceived by the Qing emperor Qianlong between 1750 and 1764 as the Garden of Clear Ripples.
As the culmination of several hundred years of Imperial garden design, the Summer Palace is said to have a major influence on subsequent oriental garden art and culture.
Gardens and Castle at Kroměříž, Czech Republic
The Gardens and Castle at Kroměříž are an exceptionally complete and well-preserved example of a princely residence and its associated landscape of the 17th and 18th centuries. The ensemble, and in particular the pleasure garden, played a significant role in the development of Baroque garden and palace design in central Europe.
The castle was affected by the fire that swept through the town in March 1752. Bishop Leopold Bedrich Eglik oversaw the restoration, bringing in artists and craftsmen to carry out the work.
Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz, Germany
The Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz exemplifies the application of the philosophical principles of the Age of the Enlightenment to the design of a landscape that integrates art, education and economy in a harmonious whole.
The garden contains a number of buildings and monuments, including the Roman Ruin and an open rotunda temple. The adjacent area of the Beckenbruch was left relatively untouched as a landscape of marsh and meadows, with a few statues and small structures inserted into it.
The Persian Garden, Iran
The Persian Garden consists of a collection of nine gardens, selected from various regions of Iran, which tangibly represent the diverse forms that this type of designed garden has assumed over the centuries and in different climatic conditions.
The perfect design of the Persian Garden, along with its ability to respond to extreme climatic conditions, is the original result of an inspired and intelligent application of different fields of knowledge, i.e. technology, water management and engineering, architecture, botany and agriculture.
Medici Villas and Gardens in Tuscany, Italy
The Medici Villas and Gardens is a selection of twelve complete villas with their gardens and two additional pleasure gardens spread across the Tuscan countryside and near to Florence. Built between the 15th and 17th centuries, they represent an innovative system of construction in harmony with nature and dedicated to leisure, the arts and knowledge.
The gardens and their integration into the natural environment helped develop the appreciation of landscape characteristic Humanism and the Renaissance.
Fort and Shalamar Gardens in Lahore, Pakistan
The inscribed property includes two distinct royal complexes, the Lahore Fort and the Shalimar Gardens, both located in the City of Lahore, at a distance of 7 km. from each other.
The two complexes – one characterized by monumental structures and the other by extensive water gardens – are outstanding examples of Mughal artistic expression at its height, as it evolved during the 16th and 17th centuries.
This Stockholm cemetery was created between 1917 and 1920 by two young architects, Asplund and Lewerentz, on the site of former gravel pits overgrown with pine trees. The design blends vegetation and architectural elements, taking advantage of irregularities in the site to create a landscape that is finely adapted to its function.
Unlike most of its contemporaries, Asplund and Lewerentz’s cemetery design evokes a more primitive imagery. The intervention of footpaths, meandering freely through the woodland, is minimal. Graves are laid out without excessive alignment or regimentation among the natural forest.
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK
The Kew Gardens features elements that illustrate significant periods of the art of gardens from the 18th to the 20th centuries. Since their creation in 1759, the gardens have made a significant and uninterrupted contribution to the study of plant diversity and economic botany.
The Kew Gardens has a long history with the Singapore Botanic Gardens, with the first rubber seedlings coming from Kew in 1877.
While the Second World War inflicted some material damage on Kew Gardens, the bicentenary of the creation of the gardens gave a new impetus which resulted in the restoration and reopening of the Palm House.