subterranean Irrigation System
Definition: Qanat is an irrigation system invented in Iran to transfer water from the foot of the mountains to the residential and agricultural lands. A set of vertical wells or access shafts (Mileh) connected by a horizontal canal (Koreh) are constructed to achieve this highly complicated task.
Qanat Formation Process
Iranian farmers in search for water noticed some permanent runoffs flowing through the tunnels excavated by the Akkdaian copper miners. These farmers established a relationship with the miners and asked them to dig more tunnels in order to supply more water. The miners accepted to do that, because there was no technical difficulty for the miners in constructing more canals.
History of Qanat in Iran
The history of Qanat or Kariz goes back to five hundred B.C. and the oldest Kariz located in Iran is Gonabad Qanat in Northwestern Iran. Due to the high temperature in Iranian plateau, water had to be transferred underground in other to prevent the evaporation and loss of water.
This system eventually found its way far beyond Iranian borders. Egypt, Oman, Spain and even US (Los Angles) are among countries using this system throughout the history.
Qanat Dependent Structures
Eleven Qanat that registered in UNESCO
In 2016, UNESCO registered eleven Qanats in Iran as World Heritage Sites. There are still many active Qanats in Iran and it is possible to visit some of them while traveling in Iran.
1.Ghasabe, Qanats of Gonabad also is called keykhosrow kariz is one of the oldest and largest Qanats in the world built during 700 BC to 500 BC. It is located at Gonabad, Khorasan Province. Contains 427 water wells with a total length of 33,113 meters. UNESCO’s list of tentative World Heritage Sites in 2007, and then officially inscribed in 2016 with several other quants under the World Heritage Site name of “The Persian Qanat”.
2. Qanat Baladeh Ferdows, Ferdows County, South Khorasan Province. Sassanid dynasty fifteen Qanats, two springs. Total length is 35 km and irrigates about 2,382 hectares of area. The entire Baladeh Qanats are 27 channels, but today only 16 of them are active and out of these 16 Qanat 12 channels are main and four others subdivisions.
3. Hassan Abad Moshir Qanats, Qanat Hasanabad Mehriz located in the city of Mehriz in Yazd province. This Qanat goes back to the seventeenth-century late Islamic period. The features of this Qanat, in addition to have good water, are the low depth of Water Channel to Yazd. The gypsum and salt layers do not formed along the Qanat channel, and the Qanat water will be transferred to the lower reaches with the same initial quality without any Mineral such as calcium, sodium, magnesium and Etc.
4. Qanat of Zarch is located in Yazd province. A number of its channels are located in the mosque of Yazd and it shows that this Qanat existed before Islam. The length of the furnace is more than 71 km. The longest Iranian Qanat is 100 kilometers long and 2115 wells. The history of Qanat Zarch dates back to 2 to 3 thousand years ago belongs the Sassanid period.
5.Qanat Gowhariz is a Qanat in Jupar, Kerman province. An active Qanat built during the Safavid period. The length is about three thousand meters. One of the interesting points about the Qanat is that the Qanat supply the water from fault. Anthony Smith(30 March 1926 – 7 July 2014), was an English scientist traveler about 600 years ago, traveled to Kerman, in search of “Garra typhlops” white blood fish. his first expedition was Persia and he attracted to the beauty of the Qanat later Smith Stated the Jupar city and its Qanat was his first love, which opened the door to the world and he never forgot his first love. Today, 300 meters from the length of the Qanat is prepared to visit tourists and people interested in this human masterpiece.
6. Qanat Ebrahim Abad is in Ebrahim abad, Markazi province. This Qanat related to the 6th and 7th centuries. The length is eleven kilometers. The length of the mother well of Qanat Ebrahim Abad is more than 110 meters and has conical shafts which have caused the Qanat to form a complex and astonishing Iranian Qanat.
7.Qanat of vazvan in in Isfahan province. The approximate length of the Qanat is 35 km and the mother well is located south of the Meyma and has 18 meters depth and Qanat has 64 wells.The magnificent and historic Qanat of the vazvan has underground dams and is able to store water in seasons where farmers do not need water. The history of this Qanat goes back about 2000 years ago, and Japanese archaeologists have confirmed this historic time, and have introduced this historic Qanat as one of the unique Qanats in the world. The Qanat of vazvan visit by many foreign tourists during the year, known as the largest Iranian underground dam, known by UNESCO as one of the most amazing planes in the world.
8.Qanat Mozdabad Meyme Isfahan province is an amazing Qanat and one of the oldest Qanats in the world goes back to 3,000 years ago. The Qanat is 18 km long and is the largest Qanat of Shahin and Meyme city. Qanat of the Mozdabad has two hot water and cold water and three underground water storage dams.
9.Qanat of the moon is a Two-floor Qanat that in every floor water flows independently. In addition, it is weird that water of one floor does not mix with another. Because the difference between the quality of each floor’s water we can be sure about this case. The only two-floor Qanat in the world ever known is Qanat of the moon in Ardestan province of Isfahan. This masterpiece is registered to be the strangest two-floor Qanat in UNESCO heritage. The Qanat is 3.5 km long and the depth of the mother’s well is 31 meters. It has 30 shafts. The mother wells are the “Twin Well” which is located next to Imamzadeh Ismael. Each of mother wells belongs to one Qanat one of them with a depth of 27 meters and the other belongs to Underneath Qanat has a depth of 30 meters. However, it has the parallel channel with same shafts or vertical wells.
10 & 11. Ghasem Abad Qanat and Akbar Abad Qanat, Bam city in Kerman province are the only twin Qanats.
Ghasem Abad Qanat is a Qanat, which is located in the village of Borat in Bam city, Kerman province. The length of the Qanat is 2300 meters and has 50 wells. The depth of mother well is 44 meters.
Akbarabad is a Qanat in the Akbarabad village of Bam city in Kerman province. The length of the Qanat is 1100 meters and has 35 wells. The depth of mother well is 7 meters.