The windmills of Iran catching the stormís sting



The wind is strong as it blows across the plains of Nashtifan in Iran. It's what gave the region its oldest name 'Nish Toofan' (stormís sting). Where there's wind there's energy and the people of this region have been utilising it for centuries with horizontal windmills (that's rotation in the horizontal plane).


The windmills, that catch winds up to 120 km/hr (74 miles/hr), are made from clay, straw and wood and still work to this day (see video right). Sadly they are not used as much as they once were.  Many of the adobe (sun dried clay brick) vaulted rooms that house the milling stones below the blades have collapsed, but some are being restored to save this unique heritage. There are about 30 of these windmills scattered thought the area reach heights of 15-20m (50-65ft). The windmills at Nashtifan are believed to have been built during the Safavid dynasty (1501Ė1736) and are among the oldest in the world. At about the same time in 16th century Europe baking bread was hard work and time consuming.

  The world's oldest windmills; still working!  

The wooden blades of these windmills turn the grinding stones in an adobe vaulted room below. Each of the windmills has eight sails (see bottom right) with each sail consisting of six vertical wooden blades. The vibrations created by the rotation shakes the grains from their hob into the stone.

In 2002 the windmills of Nashtifan were registered as a national heritage site by Iranís Cultural Heritage Department.