(Persia Digest) – Active water mills in the desert are a lesser seen sight; and yet, seven of them in a place called Boshrooyeh are still functional from the Qajar era at the heart of the southern Khorasan desert.

The Boshrooyeh region in the province of southern Khorasan, itself in northeastern Iran, has seven water-powered mills which are over 200 years old. The water flows in parallel with the agricultural water that flows from the mountains in the west with a steep slope towards the east. Another five watermills have been built 12kms away from this place.

When there is talk of watermills, what usually comes to mind are mills with huge blades powered by the waters of a large river. But, the surprising watermills of this desert are all underground. Their “qanat” subterranean waters flow from the top of the mill to move a wooden turbine.

Each one has a cylindrical container of 10 to 12 meters in height, with an opening two meters in diameter at the top, and measuring nearly half a meter in the lower part. A very narrow canal has been built here for the water to exit and move the wooden turbine at least 5 meters above the ground. A huge stone moves on a steady rock. The grains are moved forward by little blows to the container and turned into flour on this uneven surface between the rocks.


Photos: Nargues Sianei/IRNA News Agency

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