Assar Khaneh Shahi Museum, the old oil extracting house

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The amazing non-touristic museum of Assar Khane Shahi, located in the north eastern corner of Naghsh-e Jahan square through the bazaar of Isfahan, is a 380m2 monument, the remains of a 1800m2 400 years old oil extracting factory, dating back to Safavid era, built in the reign of Shah Abbas I in 1613 A.D.

The factory had been working until 50 years ago when the business became uneconomical, due to importing new modern machines.

Castor, sesame, poppy, sunflower, cotton and some other different roasted seeds were used to extract different kinds of oil for several functions like food preparation, soap production, lightening by oil lamps, medical oils, wood polishing and etc. 




The job was a sacred job and it was considered a magic job, as everybody knows" Aladdin and the magic lamp" story.

The system worked with two horizontal grind stones. The bottom one was fixed and the upper one revolved by a rig tied to a strong mule or dromedary.




The seeds were grinded between the grind stones. In the next level the grinded seeds were mixed with some water transferring to a paste. Then the paste went to some trays. The laborers put the trays together in a cylinder space made of bricks.

A wooden round gear was revolved by to workers released the strong ropes to put two heavy tree trunks on the trays to make the required pressure to press the paste among the trays. The resultant oil extracted from the paste poured into a container under the cylinder and then the laborers transfer the oil to the big jars which were put through the thick clay walls to keep the oil cool.

The roof is 11m high, covered by three domes with three holes on the center for sky lightening and air circulation to keep the area cool. You can also visit the second floor showcases some other kinds of mills and some seeds.






According to several travelers who traveled to Iran and visited Isfahan, a lot of oil factories worked in Isfahan in the past but unfortunately just one of them remained and was renovated as a museum in Isfahan in order not to be forget, how clever the people were, 400 years ago.   




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