Four ancient windmills added to national heritage list

January 16, 2022 - 18:4

TEHRAN - Four ancient windmills, which are located in Iran’s South Khorasan province, have been registered in the national list for cultural heritage.

“Four Asbads (vertical windmills), located in the cities of Birjand, Nehbandan, and Darmiyan, have been registered as national cultural heritage,” a local tourism official said on Sunday, IRNA reported.

Experts believe such primitive yet great machines bear testimony to the human being’s adaption with nature by transforming environmental obstacles into opportunities.

Earlier this year, eight Asbads underwent restoration in Darmian intending to strengthen their walls, domes, and repair their gutters.

So far, more than 100 Asbads have been identified in Darmian, which are being restored one by one due to a possible registration of the windmills on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Iran seeks UNESCO recognition for arrays of its ancient windmills that can be found in the provinces of Sistan-Baluchestan, South Khorasan, and Khorasan Razavi.

UNESCO says Asbad is a smart technique to grind grains, a technique which goes back to ancient times when the people living in the eastern parts of Iran, in an attempt to adapt themselves to nature and transform environmental obstacles into opportunities, managed to invent it.

Constructed of clay, wood, and straw, those ancient gears which are inherited from preceding generations, are perched on a cliff overlooking the village, milling grain for centuries.

Technically speaking, unlike European windmills, the Persian design is powered by blades arrayed on a vertical axis in which the energy of wind is translated down without the need for any of the intermediary gears found on the horizontal axis windmills.

The development of Asbads took place due to strong and continuous 120-day winds, which annually sweeps through the east and southeast of the Iranian Plateau from late May to late September.

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the earliest known references to windmills are to a Persian millwright in 644 CE and windmills in Seistan [Sistan], Iran, in 915 CE. In the early second millennium, some Eastern and Western states acquired the technology of making mills from Persia, though the prototype design constantly underwent amendments over time.


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