Yazd water reservoirs fallen to neglect

YAZD, Dec. 27 (MNA) – Like their sister wind catchers, historical reservoirs once had been part of the local culture and urban life; with now no practical use, they have been fallen to neglect.

Mehr News local correspondent reports that these historical buildings now are used only for dumping garbage, which indicates that the buildings have gone so far from their glorious past when they served as providers of city’s drink water for public.

Water reservoirs are built below ground surface and surface waters are channeled into these reservoirs through rivers and qanats; reservoirs are the most original of Iranian traditional buildings ubiquitous in most cities located in hot and dry central regions of Iran. Wind-catchers function as chimney allowing wind and cold air into reservoir to keep water cool enough for use. Most reservoirs enjoy two wind-catchers, but some others have larger water capacity and use five or six wind-catchers.

The brick-and-clay dome-shaped roof is built over the reservoirs and along with wind-catchers and beautiful staircase leading down to the bottom of the reservoir creates a unique combination of traditional architecture which enjoyed specific visual and architectural importance even after centuries of use.

Water reservoirs are among few buildings registered in national list of historical monuments. A cultural heritage expert told Mehr News local correspondent that water reservoirs were once among public immediate needs, and the well-off people of significance built their own reservoirs, some with public use located in streets and some others private located inside the houses. “Yazd has 60 such reservoirs, the majority of which has been registered in the National List and bears the special signpost,” added Mohammad Reza Qanei, the local expert. “Six-wind-catcher, Amir Chakhmaq, Rostamgiv, and others are prominent reservoirs; it is unfortunate that the majority of these reservoirs have fallen victim to natural weathering and wear and tear, even if they bear the special sign post indicating their registered status, since they are not usually repaired due to municipality budget restrictions,” said he.

“An exploration of the historical part of the city reveals many water reservoirs now dumped with garbage; and steep stairs down the reservoir show plastic bags and other garbage items; the wind brings most of the items here including waste papers and fruit peels, even if public was not to blame for the filth,” Qanei complained.

The expert added that reporting the issue to any local government offices including Cultural Heritage Organization and Endowment and Charity Affairs Organization would produce nothing concrete in terms of their accountability; “they pass the buck when asked about the issue; the Cultural Heritage Organization would advocate public use of the reservoir by private interest so that private sector would take the initiative in repairing reservoirs; however, Endowment Organization would restrict the using of buildings on the grounds of religious bans on the use of such monuments,” he added.

Hojjatoleslam Gholamreza Adel, Head of Endowment and Charity Organization of Yazd Province, believes that there is no specific criteria and code of conduct among administrative bodies over reservoirs; “water reservoirs had been, in specific rare cases, allowed to be used for private purposes as place for exhibition by charity organizations; reservoirs would not be used for private interest for long, since the religious rules restrict making profit, effectively making it economically unjustified for use by the public,” he said. “Several organizations should cooperate in coordination to take the reservoirs out of their current shabby conditions; they have high potentials of being popular tourist attractions,” Adel asserted.

By Mehr News Agency

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