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Iran Tours

Windmills of Sistan and Bluchestan in Iran

Holland is famous for two things, first its tulips and second its windmills. The Dutch have strived to introduce their tulips and windmills to the world as their national symbols. Now, the question is if Holland’s windmills are the only famous ones in the world. The answer is no. It could even be argued that the Dutch were not the first to use windmills. Quite contrary, the first people who decided to implement the wind power were ancient Persians. Nearly 2800 years ago, Iranian engineers in Sistan and Baluchestan province built the first batch of windmills in the path of the region’s 120-day-blowing winds to use its incredible power for milling grains and to extract water from the wells. This Iranian invention is called Asbad, which is short for the Persian equivalent to the word windmill in Persian language. Quite opposite to how the Dutch used the windmill, Iranians implemented them based on the rotation along a horizontal axis, and this is why Iranian windmills look different from their Dutch counterparts. In addition to Sistan and Baluchestan province, there are Asbads in the town of Nehabandan which is a part of South Khorasan province. From ancient times, Iranians and foreign explorers who crossed Sistan and Baluchestan could not hide their fascination with the region’s pioneering technologies. Robert Forbes, the famous technological historian, has recognized Asbad as a significant Iranian invention which has been the primary source of energy for activities such as milling wheat and pumping water during the 12th century.


After the Mongolians invaded Iran and saw these windmills, they captured a number of engineers who specialized in building these Asbads and took them Eastern Asia, and that is how the exclusive technology of windmills with horizontal rotation was taken from Iranians and reached the Far East.

Also, in the 19th century, the Europeans became familiar with the Iranian technology of windmills and made some changes to its structure which led to the making of the current models in Holland. The image of Don Quixote on a horse attacking a windmill was one of the many attempts made by the Dutch to advocate and advertise their windmills through imagery and the arts. But Iran’s Asbads in Sistan and Baluchestan have a long way to go to be globally recognized.


Furthermore, Asbads’ origin i.e. Sistan and Baluchestan has a gorgeous collection of windmills that are different in structure from the ones in Khorasan province. In this region, there are old remains of windmills that date back to the Sassanid period, but the currently working models of Asbads date back the Safavid empire. During these last decades, the possibility of using sustainable and green energy has become a serious global matter. So, it could be quite interesting for the tourists to visit and experience firsthand this ancient Iranian technology whose practicality is apparent by the fact that these structures have been built in a region with proper wind power. The Twin Asbads complex in Sistan and Baluchestan that has been registered as a national heritage site, encapsulates all the composing parts of an Asbad. Currently, Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization of Iran is preparing to register all the Asbads including the windmills in Sistan and Baluchestan and Nehabandan. Asbads in Sistan and Baluchestan are located in the city of Zabol in this Province. To arrive at the city of Zabol, one can take the plane from Tehran to Zahedan, and from there take the 210 km ride to Zabol which will approximately take two and a half hours.


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7/29/2017 6:19:11 PM

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