Pairi Daiza: The whole world in one garden
In the Walloon Cambron (JARDIN DES MONDES, Belgium) is the 55 ha (animal)park Pairi Daiza, a perfect combination of world gardens and a zoo. According to many it’s a miniature garden paradise and a nice discovery route along the most beautiful gardens in the world.
Pairi Daiza is so much more than just a zoo. It is an enchanted world surrounded by the ancient walls of the Cistercian Abbey of Cambron, a vanished abbey that was formerly occupied by the Cistercians. Only the church tower and the main building still remain.
It is worth to visit the Monastic cemetery at the Abbey. Here you can experience the silence and atmosphere of tranquility. When a monk died he was buried anonymously. This because of the desire for absolute humility. Only in the seventeenth century it was decided to add a wooden cross with the name and date of death of the deceased monk to the grave. Only a small part of the original monastery garden is preserved. There are some very old trees that have been cut.
Pairi Daiza hidden garden
Once inside Pairi Daiza you fall from one surprise into another. The gardens are beautifully landscaped, the architecture is stunning, authentic and loving. There are big thematic gardens for each continent, made according to a different theme. Being here gives you the feeling of really being in China, India, Indonesia or Africa. The architecture and craftsmanship are all authentic, made by talented men from China, Indonesia and Thailand.
The dream of the old Emperor Han Wed Di, who had laid out the most fabulous garden, has been rebuild thanks to work of 20 artisans from Shanghai. Wandering about the long suspension bridge, symbolic for the Great Wall, you see beautiful Chinese temples, tea plantation and tea houses. All this is surrounded by a large body of well-balanced plants, flowers, rocks and water reservoirs.
In the thousands of years of ancient Chinese art five elements play an important role. One of these five elements is water. It is believed that living beings, the world with all that’s in it, are connected by a flow of universal energy: wind and water.
The wall shown on the picture below gives access to the beautiful Chinese garden full of camellias, azaleas, trumpet trees, maples and of course beautiful bonsai trees. We recommend to just stop and look around and enjoy the beauty of this landscape.
Hao Hao and Xing Hui (Borrow pandas)
These are the names of the two giant pandas that the Chinese Government has borrowed to the zoo of Pairi Daiza for 15 years. These two pandas have received some important visitors. During his three-day state visit to Belgium, Chinese President Xi Jinping has opened the panda residence. Also King Philip and Queen Mathilde were present.
During the opening ceremony of the panda residence a commemorative plaque was unveiled. The visit to the zoo ended with the planting of a Wish Tree. The Chinese president and King Philip wrote a wish on a ribbon and hung it in the tree.
The expertise of Jacques Mainil (Whisperer of the leaves of trees) and his wife Francine was used during the establishment of the Chinese Garden in Pairi Daiza. Jacques Mainil is enchanted by the small bonsai trees and has experience in constructing Chinese and Japanese gardens for over 30 years. Like no other he can combine vegetable and mineral influences from East and West in the gardens. Together with the help of Pairi Daiza gardeners and experts from Shanghai, the Chinese garden is filled with Japanese bonsai thriving under cedar, pine, maple, cherry, Chinese roses, azaleas. Jacques Mainil is responsible for the health care of the bonsai and he also leads the people that prune the bonsai.
The Indonesian garden of Pairi Daiza is the largest one in Europe. This garden is called ‘The Kingdom of Ganesha’ (the Hindu god with his elephant head). Within the garden there are temples and rice fields constructed. When walking through this garden you can see authentic Balinese temples. The Balinese themselves say that they get a feeling of coming home when in this garden. The temples were built in Bali and shipped to Pairi Daiza. The garden is full of teak buildings. Along the stairs you see snakes that serve as guards.
The Flower Temple is dedicated to the world of flowers. According to the animistic basics in Balinese Hinduism, any life form is of divine origin and thus temple worthy. Water, the cradle of life, flows down along the flanks, accompanied by two small dragon snakes.
The Candi Kurung is built of lava stone that comes from the holiest of mountains, the “Mount Agung”. This mountain represents the elements air and wind.
The south of Spain is represented in Pairi Daiza as well. Walking through this garden you see magnificent colours, fountains and waterfalls surrounded by terracotta pots. There is also a luxuriant vegetation of palms, olive and fig trees to complete the Spanish atmosphere. This garden recalls the famous gardens of Andalusia, inspired by Moorish traditions and beautiful Spanish palaces. Also vines, apples and albizzias are not missing here.
© Foto’s van Theo Telst