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Al-Fayoum Waterwheels

Al-Fayoum Governorate symbol, The Seven Waterwheels, is the big black waterwheel and is unique to the province. As unique as The Waterwheels are, they also quite as beautiful; large, strong, sparkling black and having very clean water rushing from them despite being in the dirtiest stream. The moaning and groaning of their great axles give a mesmerizing feeling. They are undoubtedly the most fantastic machines.

Their beauty is portrayed in the fact that the stream itself powers them, the force of the river drives through the broad paddles, as the boxes in the edge fill with water, pick it up and pour it out of the holes at their sides as they reach the top, into a pipe that takes the water out to the fields. The wheels work without a stop, but the opening of a sluice sends the water back into the mainstream if not needed.

The possibility of water-driven wheels in Al-Fayoum is primarily because of the sloping form of the land (from 26 meters above sea level in the southeast to 45 below in the north) plus the lush of rushing streams, unlike the slow channels of the Delta and Upper Egypt. And the innovation of the Ptolemaic engineers, who first invented the wheels as part of the general push to improve Al-Fayoum farming practices in the third century BCE.

Across the country, it’s said the number of the wheels amount up to about two hundred. They usually have a diameter of between 4 and 5 meters and can lift water to a maximum of 3 meters. They are usually coated to give them protection from decay and to add color to them.

The accurate time to do repair works on the waterwheel is in January, when the canals become dry and the wheels stop, covered up with dead algae. In situations where repairs are required at certain times of the year, the wheels have to be stopped by hand, and this is a task that needs the strength of six men at least.

The Seven Waterwheels are picturesquely located in Bahr Sinnûris, a half-hour walk from town. Although they are six at the moment, hopefully the missing one will soon be replaced.

You can go through BaḥrSinnûris, first to its west bank, proceeding to the east, and then northward going outside town, to the backside of the Governorate Club, and then into the country.

A single wheel could be found at a farm alongside a short way down the canal. It was supported by lush mango trees, tall palms, and classic weeping willows. Moving a little further, tone last pair is located alongside a rough bridge.

In addition to the waterwheels attraction, this is an enchanting country walk, particularly in the early morning or just before sunset.

 

Updated On May 01, 2020