Living museum of oil extraction to get off the ground near Kashan

January 31, 2021 - 21:55

TEHRAN – A centuries-old Assarkhane, a traditional factory where special mills were used to grind oilseeds, is set to be turned into a living museum of oil extraction near the oasis city of Kashan, central Iran.

“The Safavid-era (1501–1736) Assarkhane in Aran-va-Bidgol is set to be turned into the country’s first living museum of oil extraction,” Aran-va-Bidgol’s tourism chief Seyyed Hossein Chakeri said on Saturday.

“It is the oldest and most important Assarkhane in [whole] Isfahan province,” the official added.

The museum is expected to turn the spotlight on early technology and the everyday life of the people who lived in the last centuries. It would demonstrate how roasted seeds such as castor, sesame, poppy, and sunflower were ground and the extracted oils used in food preparation, soap production, and oil lamps.

Large round millstones revolved on each other by ox or camel to grind the seeds; the plantain's trunks that fastened together used for pressing the grinding seeds are generally amongst highlights of each Assarkhane.

It’s interesting to know that the Assarkhane was built afterward the plantain's trunks had been housed there due to the enormous size of the trunks.

The entrance to the Assarkhane, like many other of its counterparts, takes you few steps down to reach the lower basement (or pillar room) which you can encounter stones, barrels, and... showing you clearly the hustles and bustles of the aged company during its heyday.

The shape of domed ceilings helps to store the extracted oil in the lower temperatures. The seeds were ground down by revolting the millstones and then, the masses of the resultant pulp were flattened on the woven stuff that was made from palm leaves. Then, one by one put them on each other in a wooden cylindrical jar to press them with a large beam and collect the extracted oil in a barrel.

Isfahan is Iran’s top tourist destination for good reasons; its profusion of tree-lined boulevards, Persian gardens, and important Islamic buildings gives it a visual appeal unmatched by any other Iranian city. Moreover, many artisans working here underpin its reputation as a living museum of traditional culture.

Many travelers opt to pass Kashan on their journeys between Tehran, Isfahan, Shiraz and Yazd, because this delightful oasis city on the edge of the Dasht-e Kavir, is one of Iran’s most alluring destinations. The oasis city not only boasts a cluster of architectural wonders, an atmospheric covered bazaar, and a UNESCO-recognized garden, but it also offers some of central Iran’s best traditional hotels.


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