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Water Management in Ancient Persia (Part 1)


Ancient Persians were well known for the ways they procured and supplied water.

Water management in a geographical location where it cannot be found abundantly all year round is a challenge. It represents the determination of a nation to survive and thrive.

There are different water-related structures and facilities in Iran for the Iranians as well as foreign travelers to visit and appreciate how water has been managed for centuries in this country.

Kariz Water Structure

Ancient Persians, who arrived in the Iranian plateau after migrating from Caucasian mountains around 3,000 years ago, settled in south and central Iran. These two are areas where we have most water structures.

Kariz is an underground aqueduct dug by pickaxe and shovel to transfer water from high mountains located tens of kilometers away from human settlements that have no accessible sources of water.

People did not leave their territories in search of better living conditions. Instead, they invented this system using natural resources and laws to let water flow through manmade water channels in a smartly-devised gradient and run down the ducts for long distances to bring life to villages and towns.

Up to this point, water has been transferred. Now, it’s time to harness the power of flowing water and preserve it.

Water Reservoirs

Huge underground tanks were built and insulated using traditional cement called Sarouj for storing water that had arrived in a village after a long journey.

Such structures are called Aab-Anbar in Farsi, meaning water tanks. These have two openings, one inlet and one outlet, on two sides of such structures at slightly different elevations.

Water fills these tanks from one side and leaves them from the other. So, there was always a constant flow of water. It was never still. That’s why it always remains fresh and drinkable.

In addition, the other energy-saving invention of Persians, Badgir (wind tower), was implemented in these water reservoirs.

At least a couple of them were constructed on both sides of a tank while a dome shaded it.

Badgirs let the air blow in from one side and out from the other. So, water was always exposed to fresh air, too.

A piece of salt rock was also thrown into the water to ensure it remains clean. Some other openings were worked out to allow the light in as well.

Source: english.irib.ir

Other links:

Architectural Structure of Minarets

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