The Giant Norias of Hama

In the 12th Century A.D., the rulers of the city of Hama, Syria, built enormous waterwheels called; norias, which translates to wheels with pots. These water wheels were built to carry water into the city and were expanded on and enhanced for several centuries along the Orontes River in the city of Hama, Syria. Only seventeen of the original norias remain. They are mostly unused now and serve an aesthetic purpose. They were called “the most splendid norias ever constructed.”

Each of the wheels can be up to 20 meters in diameter (close to 70 feet) and the river water is channelled in to a sluice on the wheel. This flow then forces the wheel to turn and wood boxes raise the water upwards. At the top of the wheel there is an artificial channel in to which the water is discharged.

Using gravity, the water then flows through aqueduct channels to either households or farms in the vicinity. Just as math was used in the construction of the waterwheels so it was in working out the times at which people had access to the water. As a precious commodity it was important that it was shared fairly.

Via: The Presurfer Photo by Flickr user Ai@ce Creative Commons license


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