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Botanical gardens : the influence of Islam, arid lands, and water in the Middle EastThe concept of the botanical garden can be traced to ancient times. The idea of the 'garden as paradise', the 'garden as orchard' and the 'chahar bagh' are part of the Persian culture, dating to 6000 B.C.. Mesopotamia is the supposed location of Eden, the oldest garden of the world. To determine the design criteria most suitable for a new botanical garden to be located in the Middle Fast, a study is required of: botanical garden history, the religious and cultural aspects of Islam which have formed design-rules for gardens , features common to arid lands, and water as a finite resource. The purpose of this study is to determine criteria for a botanical garden most suitable to the conditions of the Middle East in general, Kuwait in particular, and to identify those criteria in terms of the public benefits of recreation, education, conservation and enhancement of religious experience.