The Water Wheels of Hama
Very characteristic sights in Hama are the town’s old wooden water wheels, called noria (“wheel of pots”), which line the Orontes River. They have been called the most beautiful norias ever built.
The water wheels were needed because the river was too deeply cut to easily and directly acquire water for use.
The current of the river moved the wheels, and wooden buckets on the wheels picked up water from the river and emptied it into the aqueducts or other channeling systems at the summit of the wheel’s rotation. Gravity led the water along the aqueducts to its destination in various parts of the town such as mosques and cisterns connected to houses. Water was also directed to the irrigation of nearby gardens and agricultural fields.
Carefully worked out schedules regulated access to the water so that it could be shared.