Balkuwara (MEGT)
Samarra, Iraq
Built for the Abbasid prince al-Mu‘tazz (r. 866–869) during the reign of his father al-Mutawakkil, between 849 and 859, this huge palace (1,171 m on each side) stands at the southern end of the Abbasid palatine city of Samarra on the shore of the Tigris. It contained numerous halls and four large courtyards that had water systems and were probably gardened.
Samarra and its palaces slid into decline after 903 when the Abbasids turned their attention elsewhere. The gardens surely were neglected from that point onward. The last dated archaeological evidence at Samarra is from the thirteenth or fourteenth century.
Source: Archaeological Analysis, 1911

-Antonio Almagro, D. Fairchild Ruggles


Erster vorläufiger Bericht über die Ausgrabungen von Samarra (Open in Zotero)

Palaces of the Abbasids at Samarra (Open in Zotero)

Creswell, Herzfeld, and Samarra (Open in Zotero)

Originally published at: Almagro, Antonio, and D. Fairchild Ruggles. “Balkuwara.” Middle East Garden Traditions. Dumbarton Oaks, November 18, 2014. Archived at:

Samarra, Iraq
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Dates of attested life: 849/859- 13th/14th century
Date of entry of information: August 2007
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