Discover subterranean watermills in oasis city

December 4, 2021 - 18:37

TEHRAN - On the margins of a harsh desert in central Iran, lies the ancient city of Meybod, which has long been home to underground watermills.

According to available data, Meybod embraces 22 historical watermills some of which have been or are to be restored while some are forgotten over time.

The double stone watermill of Mohammad-Abad is an exemplar hydraulic structure created at a depth of 40 meters on a qanat corridor. It used to supply all flour requirements of the neighboring villages. The mill nears a village of the same name, some 50 km away from Yazd.

The watermills as their names imply were connected to river flows, springs, qanats, or other water sources usually through man-made ditched canals.

They were typically constructed following the then design requirements for instance they featured dome-shaped roofs with high-enough vestibules to allow camels or other livestock to move back and forth with ease to convey grains or flour.

Iran is situated in an arid and semi-arid region where, due to the inequitable distribution of surface water, its people have been enduring extreme hardship to meet water demands for millennia.

Construction of dams, qanats (underground aqueducts), cisterns, and yakhchals (ice houses) date back to the ancient times in Iran to counter fluctuation of yearly seasonal streams and ensure to have better conditions for utilization of water.

According to UNESCO, Meybod is a remarkable example of the viability and transmission of human beings’ collective thoughts from different generations to the present one.

“What is significant in the city of Meybod is the regularity in city planning. The anatomy and spatial structure of the city show original plans which conform with the old Iranian city planning.”

A couple of years ago, the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts, and Tourism Organization commenced documentation of an ancient chain of vertical-axis windmills, which can be found in various corners of the country.


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