Some of the examples of such well-maintained gardens are El Nabatat Island in Aswan and the Orman Botanical Gardens at the end of El-Dokki Street in Giza, the latter of which is visited by thousands of people every year to enjoy the millions of types of beautiful plants on display.
History of the Orman Botanical Gardens
The Orman Botanical Gardens were established in 1875, during the reign of Khedive Ismail to supply the Khedive’s palaces with fruits, citrus, and vegetables, which were brought from the island of Sicily, and the garden was part of the Khedive’s Palace, which was known at the time as the Giza Serail, and the Khedive brought to these gardens trees and plants from all over the world.
The garden is considered one of the largest botanical gardens in the world at 28 acres and it was designed by French landscaper Jean-Pierre Barillet-Deschamps and with him the Chief Gardener Ibrahim Hammouda. It was 95 acres at the time of its establishment and included three sections: the Haramlek which is now located in the western part of the Giza Zoo, the Salamlek located in the southern part of the park.
It was separated from the zoo in 1890 and remained affiliated with the Khedive Palace until 1910. Then it was taken over by the Ministry of Agriculture, and when El Gama’a Street was planned in 1934, the southern part of the gardens was cut off and it was added to the zoo, so its area became 28 acres.
Today, the park contains a rock garden, a rose garden, cactus gardens, and a lotus pond. It includes the largest botanical collection with 100 families, including 300 genera and 600 species. The park has a seed exchange section with all parks and research centers in the world.
The pond has two of the most famous plants in ancient Egypt Papyrus and Lotus. There is also a two-acre rose garden with rare species of flowers.
“Orman” is a Turkish word meaning “forest”. There is also a botanical museum attached to the garden which displays a collection of preserved plants and flowers dating back to the era of Khedive Ismail as well as furniture from the reign of King Farouk.
The Spring Festival
An annual spring floral exhibition takes place at the Orman Botanical Gardens and has been since 1920. It starts in March and lasts for a month. At the exhibition, many companies showcase their various plant offerings, including ornamental plants, flowers, seeds, fertilizers, gardening tools, pots, and much more. Moreover, other goods are sold at the exhibition, such as woven baskets, Aswanian honey, essential oils, souvenirs, and jewelry.
All the products are sold at very affordable prices, some as low as EGP 5, but some rare varieties can reach thousands of pounds, especially if they are hundreds of years old.
A Digital Map has been set up to document, provide information, and help allocate different types of trees and plants that represent the very special botanical variety hosted by Orman Gardens to aid scientific researchers, decision-makers as well as casual users, and help conserve this botanical legacy.
Top Things to Do at the Orman Botanical Gardens:
- To start with, you can take a stroll among the herbaceous and aromatic plants and enjoy their fragrant smells.
- Enjoy watching another side of the Orman Park collections, as you will find unique Cuban Royal Palm (Roystonea regia), the Bird of Paradise flowers (Strelitzia reginae), and you can also enjoy the ornamental and aquatic plants on display.
- Capture the most memorable photos as you wander among the many varieties of greenery, such as the wonderful Mammillaria Cactus flower.
- You can also relax while tasting a special meal, or sipping a cup of coffee with your family, in the designated areas, amidst a charming view of the most beautiful garden plants.
Opening Times and Ticket Prices
The Orman Botanical Gardens are open every day of the week from 10:00in the morning until 10:00 in the evening and tickets are EGP 5. If you wish to drive in with a car, then tickets are EGP 20, and photography is free with a mobile camera and EGP 100 for professional cameras. Consider visiting the gardens earlier in the morning to avoid the crowds.
Visiting the Orman Botanical Gardens is a unique experience that is both enjoyable and entertaining, whether you love gardening and wish to buy flowers and plants to enrich your collection or you are simply looking for a place to enjoy the beauty of nature’s creations and learn more about the best that the garden has to offer.