Nashtifan, Iran – Amidst the vast desert landscapes of Iran, the winds carry with them tales of ancient innovation. Nashtifan, a small town nestled in the Khorasan Province, boasts a remarkable legacy as the oldest windmill city in the world, with its windmills dating back an astonishing 1,000 years. These iconic structures have not only stood the test of time but continue to harness the power of the wind, offering a glimpse into the ingenious solutions of a bygone era.
The windmills of Nashtifan are a striking sight, rising like sentinels from the desert floor. Built from clay, straw, and wood, their design has remained largely unchanged for centuries. These traditional windmills are known as “Asbad” in Persian and have played a crucial role in the region’s agriculture by grinding grain and lifting water from underground aquifers. They have provided sustenance and livelihoods to generations of locals.
What sets Nashtifan apart is not just its ancient windmills but the fact that they are still fully functional, actively serving their original purpose. As the wind sweeps across the desert, the windmill blades begin to turn, powering the grinding stones below or drawing up water from the depths of the earth. In a world increasingly reliant on modern technology, Nashtifan’s windmills are a living testament to the sustainable practices of the past.
The international community has recognized the historical and cultural significance of Nashtifan’s windmills. Efforts to preserve and protect this unique heritage site have been ongoing, with UNESCO recently considering it for inclusion on its World Heritage List.
Local authorities in Nashtifan have been working diligently to balance the preservation of these ancient windmills with the growing interest from tourists around the world. Visitors to Nashtifan are not only treated to a journey through time but also to the warm hospitality of the locals, who are eager to share the story of their town and its enduring windmills.
Hossein Rahimi, a resident of Nashtifan, spoke proudly of his hometown, saying, “These windmills are not just structures; they are a part of our heritage and our identity. They have sustained our community for centuries, and we are committed to ensuring they continue to do so for generations to come.”
As Nashtifan’s windmills stand as guardians of the past, their ongoing operation and recognition as the world’s oldest windmill city serve as a powerful reminder of the innovative spirit of our ancestors and the timeless beauty of sustainable technology.