Hama is the fifth-largest city in the Middle Eastern country of Syria. The city is renowned for its ancient norias which line the city’s Orontes River. The Norias of Hama are huge wooden waterwheels (norias means ‘wheels of pots’), up to 20 metres (66 ft) in diameter, that have been used, it is claimed, since 1100 BC for the purpose of irrigation. There were once over 30 norias in the city but today only 17 remain, all of which are unused and now only serve an aesthetic purpose.

The edge of one of the 17 remaining norias (‘wheels of pots’) on the Orontes river in Hamah, Syria. May 6th 2008.

The edge of one of the 17 remaining norias (‘wheels of pots’) on the Orontes River in Hama, Syria. May 6th 2008

One of the 17 remaining norias (‘wheels of pots’) on the Orontes river in Hama, Syria. May 6, 2008.

One of the 17 remaining norias (‘wheels of pots’) on the Orontes river in Hama, Syria. May 6, 2008.

norias, Hama, Syria

The edge of one of the 17 remaining norias (‘wheels of pots’) on the Orontes river in Hama, Syria. May 6, 2008.

On the streets of Hama, Syria. May 7, 2008.

On the streets of Hama, Syria. May 7, 2008.

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