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Thursday, 8-Dec-2005 00:00 Email | Share | Bookmark
Haroon Prison - Tehran

Black stones
scond floor
Cave or tunnel?
where is the destination?

I heard about Haroon prison in tourism guide 's books in Persian but without any photos or more information even i didn't find any photos of that building in Internet.
When i started this fotopages i have decided to present my country .so i should discover more and more.and some of these places is unknown even for Iranians.
This surprising mason has been built 1100 years ago at Ale bouye era.
The complete name is haroon al Rashid prison
.Haroon was the most famous Arab caliph (.Arabs occupid Persia since 7th centry. Persian accepted Islam but those Arabs were very Iranians chose Shite .those cruel caliphs martryzied even all shite's Emams.)
For these reasons Persians rebelled against Arabs and became independent...
Albouye was the first Iranian government after occupation..
We had great history before those Arabs we accepted Islam for it's message as freedome.not to be under their oppresssion ...
This building shows you how much this place was horrible...
Without any windows..strong building and those black stones!!!!
When i eneterd to those chambers. i couldn't see anywhere only with the light of my camera's falsh i saw walls and ceilings
.Imagine: chambers without windows.without toilet and water!!!!!
And second floor was destroyed by passing times but government dedicate enough budget for repairing and make this prison as Tourism charm place for Tehran
Visiting for people is limited now.
We leave Prison toward a guard post.that is located 2 or 3 kliometers to the north...
Besides of that guard post i saw a cave or maybe a Tunnel.i was not brave enough for entering into that Tunnel.
I don't know where is the destination of that tunnel maybe to the main building of prison!!!???
And we visit a kariz there .do you know what is the Kariz? Ok i will bring details for you but the oldness of this kariz is same as that prison because of the stones over holes..
Haroon prison located in Kharvaran road .10 Km after Tehran.on the Mesgarabad mountain slopes


Kariz (Qanat) is an ancient water provision technology that can be described as the greatest contribution made by Iranians to hydraulics. This system must have been started at least 5000 years ago in Iran. Kariz system is usually found in central Iran toward the east and southeast of Iran.
Some existing ancient example of water provision in Iran are: old Zavareh kariz dating back to 5000 years ago, 350m depth master well of Gonabad Qanat dating back to 2500 years ago, 40km long a aqueduct of Chogha Zanbil water refinery installation dating at least back to 3250 years ago and the 1000-year-old water distribution network of Milan village in East Azerbaijan province.
Therefore, since antiquity supplying and restoring water for drinking, irrigating, washing, etc have been the essential issue for survival.
That is why all those kariz systems, water reservoirs, icehouses, water mills, water dams, bridges and diversion dams have been built.
Kariz is a mining installation or technique using galleries or canals to extract water form the depths of the earth to the ground. In fact, water is brought by gravity flow from the upper end, where it seeps into the gallery to a ground surface outlet and irrigation canal at its lower end. This is done by means of a gently sloping tunnel.

Kariz Mining Technique
The first step in making a kariz is to sink a trial shaft (gamaneh) to prove the presence and determine the depth of the water table. When the trial shaft is sunk and water is reached, it must be determined if the well has struck a constant flow of water in an impermeable stratum. If so the alignment and slope of the kariz from the shaft has to be established. This shaft becomes the mother well.
The gradient of the gallery must not be too steep, because the water, then, will flow too fast and erode the walls and the tunnel will fall in. Working on kariz making usually begins at the lower end where its water is to come to the surface. By spike and shovel, the tunnel starts to be dug back toward the mother well. At times it begins simultaneously at both ends.
Vertical shafts are sunk from the surface to the tunnel approximately every 20 - 35 m, or are sunk first and then connected by a tunnel. Mud or stone linings at their upper parts strengthen these shafts.
The soil excavated is moved to the surface in a bucket by a windlass. If the shaft is too deep a second windlass may be set halfway down in a niche. Usually there accumulates a ring of soil around the shaft on the surface. So, looking from the air, sets of wells look like a line of small craters.
The gradient of a kariz is established by the use of a spirit level suspended between two pieces of cord, each about 9 meters long. In a short kariz, the gradient varies from 1:1000 to 1: 1500, but in a long one, it is nearly horizontal.
In some cases, when kariz route slope needed to be steeper, they usually broke the route line at one point and let water to another level lower than the original level. Therefore, an underground waterfall was created. Knowing about the water energy at such points, people built water mills to make use of the water energy for other purposes like grinding cereals.
The discharge of the water of kariz varies according to ground water characteristics, the nature of the soil and season. Those that tap a permanent aquifer usually have a constant flow throughout the year. If a kariz does not tap a stable groundwater source or is in porous soil, its flow may be reduced to virtually nothing in summer, or in a dry year. The flow of some kariz may reach 1750 US liters a minute, but that of the majority of kariz systems are much smaller, dropping to approximately 15 US liters a minute.

Kariz routes need to be regularly cleaned and maintained: They are subject to damage and destruction by flash floods. To prevent shafts from being filled with sand, they are covered by stone slabs or other objects.
The people involved in digging and maintaining kariz systems or qanats are called Moqannies. They suffer great inconvenience to perform their laborious jobs.
They carry castor-oil lamps to test the ventilation underground. If the air does not keep the flame alight another shaft is sunk. They clear the deposited sediments formed by minerals at the bottom of the aqueducts. At any cases of incurred damages, nothing can be done without such people; meaning water would not be accessible in the kariz-water-supplied settlements.
Damages could be the falling in of the ceiling of aqueducts or walls of shafts, the accumulation of sediments, sands or mud in the underground galleries, the blockage of subterranean waterways, etc. It is worth notifying that the moqannies from Yazd have always been famous for their skills to work professionally on qanat projects.

Ownership & Distribution of Water in Kariz Systems
Frequently the ownership of the land where kariz is made in is in different hands and the water is bought and sold. Some landlords endow the kariz routes in their lands partially or totally to the whole community living within it.
The distribution of the water of a kariz route is based on time as determined by the users through their representatives. If the flow of a kariz is considerably high and the users of the water are numerous, the distribution of the water has to be under a trustworthy official known as mirab who is chosen by the joint users or the government and is paid a certain salary.

Vitality of Kariz Systems
Without kariz, many human settlements could not emerge. Also there would be no oases to turn later into large cities like Hamedan, Qazvin, Neyshabur, Kerman, Yazd and a lot more smaller cities and towns. In the regions mentioned, there could not be any piece of land cultivated either.
Since ancient times, there have been laws as to how to distribute water fairly among various small and large villages on the kariz routes to prevent any disagreements resulting in consequent disorder, clashes or disturbance.
However, kariz still remains to be the principal, and in some cases, the only source of irrigation and domestic water supply in many parts of Iran. But in the areas with more densely populated districts, kariz has lost its importance as the main water provision source.
Finally, as an essential and integral part of ancient Iranians’ lives, kariz have played a key role in forming many aspects of culture within the community.
Written By: Rahman Mehraby

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