Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS)

Qanat Irrigated Agricultural Heritage Systems, Kashan




Site location:  Kashan Township, Isfahan Province, Islamic Republic of Iran

Area of GIAHS: 4 650 km2

Population working for this system: 20 000 people

Topological Characteristics: non fertile lands with aquifers

Climatic Classification: arid conditions

Ethnic Groups/Indigenous People: -

Primary Income Sources: agriculture

The Qanat Irrigated Agricultural Heritage Systems are uniquely designed, demonstrating a close relationship with nature, culture, and the capacity of the environment that surrounds it and more importantly, the underlying sustainability and productivity principles.

These underground tunnels following aquifers in surrounding mountain areas have allowed collecting water from different layers of earth to grow food plants and trees. Considered as a living member of the communities, local communities are socially and culturally depending on Qanat uses since early 800 BC.

This system has contributed to enrichment of the landscape in the Kashan region which otherwise should have been a desert. The most beautiful farms and gardens were created and maintained through Qanat irrigation which could be threatened by over pumping in the deep aquifers.