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History of Cisterns in Iran
Climate has been always a main reason to encourage people for creating new items especially when it comes to architecture, people were doing their best to make such valuable objects. In the center Iran due to less rainy season, people were struggling to make Qanats and bring water from re-sources to towns and villages.
Aside from this they were of the opinion that they have to store this water for winter time too, this could have been the reason to build ice houses as well as cisterns. The history of this construction dates back to ancient days of Persia, however, in Islamic periods it was well respected by locals and gathering at cisterns was very important.
From architectural point of view building this Qanats was not very easy and they must meet several factors and items such as water pressure at starting point, water pressure on walls of cistern, insulation of cistern, air conditioning, settlements, etc.
Generally, we can make these three reasons for building cisterns:
- To avoid deteriorating of water in outdoor area.
- Avoid heating by sun
- Avoid evaporating in outdoor area by sun
How it works:
There were several cisterns in all around the country and we can categorize them in two major groups:
- Private cisterns
- Public cisterns
A) Public urban
B) Publics in villages
C) Publics in castles
D) Road Cisterns
E) Desert Cisterns
Those cisterns in villages of cities that are privately held and had been built inside their house, mostly in basement in courtyard. The structure of those are mostly rectangular with a flat roof. People always had a bowl to catch the water of by a manual pomp. It is well noted that some of these cisterns were designed to store water for three to four years of a house.
Most of these constructions are quite huge and founder of them are usually rulers, merchants that afforded the cost of building such an important building for whole town or village.A) This type of cisterns has been built in public areas such as religions spots, Madrasehs, bazaars, etc. This confirms the importance of this construction in public areas which was based on population of that region.B) Cisterns of villages: usually this type of construction have been built in main plaza of villages that had plain design.
C) Cisterns of castle: they mostly looks like very simple and had been built like a pond in a castle. Its tank is very small but very deep. However, they are connected to other of castle. Even in caravansaries they were able to catch the water of rains on roofs and lead them to this type of storage.
D) Road cisterns: They were mostly built along the route of caravans or even nearby caravansaries. Structure of them are quite simple but very unique such as having a domed tank, wind-catchers as well as a tiny room for little rest or praying.
E) Desert cisterns: they have been mostly built in desert for giving water to animals, their tanks are mostly in square shape and their walls are about 2 meters higher than the rest of construction.
How this system works:
Aside from this, water was led to cities by a natural slope that has been made by artists while they were digging whole. They also could take water of rain and snow through these wells and bring them in system. Along this route there are several stops such as Payab, Cisterns, Laundry house, Ice houses, etc.
Apparently you may think only people who are in vicinity of this route had a chance to use the water but it is well noted that there are several routes of Qanats under any of cites in desert. For example, in Yazd, there are over than 70 routes of Qanats under the city that enabled people to catch water. They also had built channels for leading out the dirty water from this system to other wells out any city.