The Ottoman era mill still providing a livelihood for residents near Ajloun

WhatsApp Image 2021-06-30 at 11.11.07 AM(1)
(Photo: Ahmed Bani Mustafa/Jordan News)
AMMAN — There are tens of ancient watermills in Jordan, but Tahounet Odeh (the mill of Odeh) is perhaps the most fortunate in the Levant, because it is the only one that has been restored and turned into a tourist destination.اضافة اعلان

Located in Irbid’s Kurah District, Tahounet Odeh gives visitors a great example of early Ottoman era grain grinders, which were powered by the natural flow of water.

While the exact date the mill was built depends on who you ask, what is known for certain is that the mill diverted a portion of water to a stone bridge that allowed it spin a metal turbine connected to a millstone above.

Along with the Tahounet Odeh, other mills like Naseer, Hussain, Umm Al-Harathin and Al-Mashraa have been found in Ottoman land registry documents.

However, these mills ceased operations in the 1960s due the arrival of electric-powered mills.

According to locals, the mill could produce one tonne of flour every day, serving farmers who came from the eastern parts of Jordan and the Jordan Valley, as their regions did not have the topography needed for a water powered mill.

The stones used to build the mill were bought from a neighboring quarryman, who took one quarter of the mill’s production in return. The millstone was brought from Hauran (northeast Jordan), which is a region well-known for its volcanic stones (basalt).

Tahounet Odeh is surrounded by millennial olive trees, locally known as Roman olive, and thousands of pomegranate trees irrigated by several springs in Wadi Al-Rayan.

The wadi, previously known as Wadi Al-Yabiss, is a fertile valley that is considered one of the largest growers of Jordanian pomegranates, making the visit to Tahounet Odeh best during the harvesting season (September to December).

The people of Kurah have practiced pomegranate cultivation for centuries, and visitors can find several local byproducts of pomegranate in the area, such as jam, juice, soap, vinegar, tea, and sweets.

This mill is also part of the Jordan Trail, a long-distance hiking trail that runs from Umm Qais in the north to Aqaba in the south, Jordan’s southernmost city. It can be visited as a stand-alone destination or along with nearby attractions such as Bergish Forest and Cave.

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