Understanding the Impact of Qanats on Settlements in Central Iran (Case Study: Mohammadiyeh Village, Nain, Iran)
Cities and settlements in the Iranian Plateau are developed in deep relationship with and dependence on water sources and their functioning systems . A clear manifestation of this all-inclusive link between the settlement and the water storage and distribution system can be found in Mohammadiyeh, in central Iranian deserts. The system that was developed based on groundwater recovery and its transportation by Qanat still remains today with little change. Two types of Qanat can be found in Mohammadiyeh: Irrigation and Urban Qanats. Irrigation Qanats (such as the Hanfash Qanat) enter agricultural lands immediately from the outlet, but urban Qanats (such as the Mohammadiyeh qanat) first enter residential areas and are then used for irrigation purposes. In residential areas, the Qanat is distributed in a path that is chosen based on land slope. Public areas such as mosques, bathhouses, creeks, houses, etc. are located along this path. This path ends in a morgue in Paderakht neighborhood, then enters the northeastern gardens, and then the agricultural lands.  There are multiple aspects to this system with respect to the community and the life of inhabitants. This water system has remained for centuries and is systematically developed. Mohammadiyeh's water system has been developing since the time of its formation, and has continued to develop along with the development of the city and today continues to make changes. Areas such as Mohammadiyah have been formed in a deep and interconnected relationship with the water resources and the division of the system, which today can be very useful in recognizing and revising the multiplicity and multi-functional relationship of this system. A survey of previous studies analyzing the impact of water on the settlements reveals that they are predominantly descriptive and that they have only addressed physical aspects; besides, they do not adopt a specific methodology. Therefore, considering that most Iranian studies focused on the desert areas and the well-known, stable water system in Mohammadiyeh, in the central Iranian plateau, this village was selected to be studied. The present study adopts an analytical, survey approach to the investigation of interactions between Mohammadiyeh and the water system in a mixed method (both qualitative and quantitative). The present study, based on field observations, analysis of documents and existing studies, and in-depth interviews, studies and analyzes the relationship and effects of Qanats in Mohammadiyeh in three dimensions: physical, functional-activity, and social. This study is aimed to reveal the principles governing the development of this system by investigating the various aspects of the link between the system and the physical-spatial, and functional-activity structure on the one hand and the social life and beliefs on the other. The results suggest that water and its distribution system include all-inclusive, multi-functional networks that have survived over the centuries. The circulation and distribution of water encompass the path of Qanats (linear element) and karizes, underground channels and creeks, bathhouses, pools (point element), etc. The development of Mohammadiyeh, including the establishment of neighborhood centers, the network of passages, houses, and public buildings, matches the ideas shaping the water distribution system and the physical form of Mohammadiyeh. In addition, the Qanat-based water system is in a close relationship with the physical and social urban structure and private and public spheres at many levels. Therefore, the multidimensional relationship between this system and the urban structure has transformed from a mere utility infrastructure into a multidimensional system that is in correlation with both physical-spatial and social-cultural aspects of the village.
Article Type:
Research/Original Article
Housing And Rural Environment, Volume:37 Issue: 164, 2019
101 - 114
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