Right in the centre of Hama, there is a pleasant park on the riverfront. Some gigantic wooden waterwheels turn here, scooping up water from the Orontes river and taking it up to the aquaduct running from it. Although the system is not used anymore in present days, it is still easy to see how simple and smart it is. Water just falls back down into the river it was taken from. In medieval times, Hama had some 30 norias, of which around a dozen remain.
Then, there is the largest noria, the Al Mohammediyyeh, not far from the park, up to 20 metres in diameter. But the best spot is a little upstream from the town centre. Here, in the garden of a restaurant, and a quiet spot on the river, are the four norias of Bichriyat. Attached to the norias on the other side of the river, is a still largely intact aquaduct, which in days gone by could transport the water from here to the agricultural areas in the neighbourhood.
The slowly turning wooden wheels make a remarkable sound, while they scoop up the filthy river water which then splashes down when it reaches its highest point. A lot of things might look different today in Hama, but this sound must have been the same centuries ago when these norias still had the important task to provide water to people and plants. It is also called the singing of the norias.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Norias (Syria). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Norias.
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