A village in northern Iran has been taking advantage of the wind for the last 1000 years
Really old windmills are still in use in Nashtifan, a village in northern Iran. These early wind turbines made of clay, straw, and wood have been turning grindstones to mill grain for flour for an estimated 1,000 years! They are carefully designed and located up the hill overlooking the village, taking advantage of the area’s strong winds, while protecting it from them at the same time. In fact, the region is so well known for its wind that the name Nashtifan is derived from words that mean “storm’s sting.”
Today’s wind turbines have much more efficient designs and can attain higher speeds, producing much more power than these 20m-tall structures. However, it was a great achievement for the time they were constructed and in 2002, the windmills were recognized as a national heritage site by Iran. Mohammad Etebari is the last man still using these historic windmills, and it is not known if anyone else will keep the ancient tradition after he is gone. “It’s the pure, clean air that makes the windmills rotate—the life-giving air that everyone can breathe,” Etebari says.
How they work
Each windmill is comprised of eight chambers, and each chamber houses six blades. When the wind blows entering the chambers, it is blocked on half of its blades. These blades are then pushed downwards, resulting in the rotation of the windmill. Panemone windmill, that is used nowadays, is based on the same principle.
Source: National Geographic