Gonabad Qanats

Also known as: Gonabad Kareez, Gonabad Kariz, Ghasabe Qanats of Gonabad

They are some of the most fascinating relics of the earliest human civilization located in northeastern Iran. They are also a testimony to a dexterous application of geology, physics and architecture in the ancient Persia some 2,500 years ago. Gonabad is home to the deepest water well in Iran and probably the world at a depth of 300 meters. Gonabad Qanats are among the  11 historical qanats which have been added in the UNESCO World Heritage list as “Qanats” in July 2016.



The qanats form a jaw-dropping network of intertwined arched cellars comprised of 471 vertical wells or shafts connected by gently sloping tunnels for a length of 34 kilometers which bring water to the surface. The shafts also function as ventilation ducts and are used to repair wells and remove sediments. A water clock, said to be one of the world's earliest timepieces, was used in Gonabad Qanats.



The channels are believed to date back to the sixth century BC to the time of the Achaemenid Empire but some experts put the date far back in time. They are still the only water source in Gonabad where there is no spring or outlet for hundreds of miles in the desert area. For millennia, qanats helped the city grow and prosper and turn to one of the most visited destinations.  Today, Gonabad is producing a variety of agricultural crops such as saffron, pistachios, grapes, pomegranates, figs and cotton.


Other Attractions

The holes of qanat shafts dotting the Earth every 50 meters are a captivating sight. The city has also a number of other attractions dating back to the most ancient eras ranging from prehistoric monuments to the tomb of Genghis Khan's son Chaghatay.

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