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Persian Windmills and Wind Towers from Ancient Times

Credits: ©2009 WebEcoist

The earliest known windmill design dates back 3000 years to ancient Persia where they were used to grind grain and pump water. Reeds were bundled together to create vertical paddles that spun around a central axis. Carefully placed exterior walls ensured that wind would primarily drive the potentially bidirectional system in the desired direction. Of course, the use of wind power in sailing predates the inventions of windmills but these are the first known use of wind to automate mechanical/manual everyday tasks. Persia is also the original home of one of the most complex passive ventilation and cooling systems that has ever existed – 2,000-year-old engineering that rival modern hi-tech equivalents with the simple and elegant effectiveness of their design. Using a combination of air pressure differentials, structural orientation and running water these windcatcher structures help regulate temperatures in the harshest of desert environments with cool nights and burning hot days.


Ancient Persian Windmills

Windmills were invented in ancient Persia, Nashtifan, in the eastern Khorasan province of Iran; some of the windmills still work. ©2009 Skylight IR


  Windcatcher as a Persian Sustainable Solution for Passive Cooling WHITE PAPER 2018 (473 kb)