Unique Traditional Methods for Better Living in Kish Island
Unique Types of Qanat in Kish Island
Ahmad Zohadi /2A Magazine- Editor in Chief

Published in 2A Magazine Issue #45

Qanat or Kareez is a system of underground aqueducts (Persian), a water management system used to provide reliable water supply or irrigation water for human settlements in hot, arid and semi-arid climates. Qanat is also a horizontal tunnel for draining groundwater. The widespread use of qanat, which is called by different names in different places, has confounded the question of its origin. Despite that, the earliest evidences of using this technology date back to ancient Persia. Qanats (Kareez) are an ancient sustainable system that has facilitated the har vesting of water for centuries in Iran and 34 other countries and regions. These subterranean channels have been used for transfer ring snowmelt water resources from mountains during thousands of years. Agricultural, industrial and urban demands for freshwater have brought about an increasing demand for water, the elixir of life. Harvesting of water via deep croundwater wells throughout arid zones has disturbed the aquifers and caused abandonment of Qanat as a technique for supplying water.

Notes on Qanat

Qanats still create a reliable water supply for human settlements and irrigation water in hot, arid and semi-arid climates, but the value of this system is a direct result of the quality, volume and regularity of the water flow. On the other hand, Qanat is an exceptional historic evidence about the richness of traditions and civilizations living in deserts and arid climates. Furthermore, the water supplied by Qanats is fresh, clean and very cool, especially in upper reaches and the immediate upstream, where more prosperous people used to set tle their homes. In places where Qanats are buried deep underground, the water is extracted to surface by use of common wells or special Persian animal driven mechanical wells. At some points along a Qanat there are sometimes privately owned subterranean water reservoirs that supply houses and gardens for both domestic use and irrigation. In such areas the cool and soft air flow inside Qanat is directed through underground summer rooms called Shabestan, to provide the residents with cool and conditioned air. Even today these Shabestans are to be found in many old buildings and houses all along Persian deserts.

Kish is a resort island in Bandar Lengeh County, Hormozgan Province, off the southern coast of Iran in the middle of Persian Gulf. (Figure 1) From all 5 types of original Qanats in Kish island, there are 3 of them still in use and reachable for observations, while all others are destroyed and not functional. The total length of Qanats in Kish island, each having their own special features, is about 10.3 kilometers.

General characteristics and geographical location:


Qanat’s name: Baghoo

location: west part of Kish island

wells’ depth: 8.30 meters (from ground level)

welibore mouth rectangular dimension: 100 by 60 cm (figure 2)

Dimensions of Qanat’s corridor:

hallway height: 80 cm corridor floor width: 70 cm no cap for well rod, stone porcelain crown Damp walls and floors in Qanat’s corridors: When visiting this Qanat’s corridors you find some wells having fallen walls washed away by surficial water currents. At some points, the accumulation of particles from these walls has barricaded the corridors. Some wells are completely under the trees which indicates that there will be no place for the subterranean wells in case of afforestation. There should be a clearance of 6 meters as a circle around the well’s perimeter, so that the growth of tree roots would not damage well walls in the long term, and cause the underlying corridors being barricaded and clogged (figure 3). Another cause for damage to wells along Qanat, is construction of vehicle roads that may cover some wells, or cause damage to the walls around the covered well (Figure 4). Harirah Qanat has a good and functional opening on wells that prevents objects from falling into or entering Qanat corridors (Figure 5). This Qanat passes through Kariz kish and its corridors are at some points out of their normal shapes. The whole system, one could say, has changed into a combination of several tunnels of different widths and lengths, all having differences from the original shapes of a Qanat. This has made it into a subterranean city called underground Kariz. Kariz city is a touristic place about 15 kilometers longIt was constructed 14 meters underneath the ground level. Corals, water currents, cool air circulating all the tunnels, coral ceilings demonstrating many ancient fossils and many other wonders are amongst the breath-taking characteristics of this Qanat. Historians believe that this Kariz is the only construction site that features coral ceilings, and this has turned it into a fabulous place to visit (figure 6). This is just a brief on Qanats in Kish island.