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坎儿井:伊朗的古老工程奇观

更新时间:2018-7-5 21:27:44 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Iran's ancient engineering marvel
坎儿井:伊朗的古老工程奇观

What on Earth are those? I thought to myself shortly before landing in the Iranian city of Esfahan one summer. From the aeroplane window, I could see what looked like a cross between freakishly large anthills and obscure symbols left by an extraterrestrial race. Little could I – then only a teenager – have guessed what lay beneath their mysterious surfaces.

那年夏天,飞机还没在伊斯法罕(伊朗第三大城市)降落,我透过飞机舷窗向外望。这到底是什么?我独自思忖着。窗外的景象仿佛是巨大蚁穴间的十字,或是外星人留下的神秘印记。彼时的我还是少年,对于这神秘的外衣下究竟藏着什么,还知之甚少。

If, throughout the ages, there’s one element my people have revered more than fire – known as the ‘Son of God’ in the ancient Iranian faith of Zoroastrianism – it’s undoubtedly water. The Iran in which various Aryan tribes settled millennia ago was a rich, vast and variegated expanse of land, as it is today. It also, however, happened to be incredibly dry. The ancient Iranians had a huge task not only to survive, but also to conquer almost all their then-known world.

火在古伊朗宗教拜火教(Zoroastrianism)中被视为"上帝之子"。长久以来,如果有比火更让伊朗人民珍视的东西,毫无疑问是水。数千年前,雅利安人聚居的伊朗和如今一样,是一片富饶广袤、地形多变的土地,然而却异常干燥。古伊朗人不但要存活下去,还几乎要征服当时他们全部已知的世界。

To find pure water in an arid and unforgiving landscape, and create lush vistas in (literally) the middle of nowhere, might have seemed an impossible undertaking. However, they found an effective and sustainable solution to Iran’s dearth of easily accessible water in the marvel of ancient Iranian engineering known as the kariz, more popularly known by its Arabic name, the qanat. Dating back some 3,000-odd years, and added to Unesco’s World Heritage list in 2016, the qanat is a testament to the ingenuity of the ancient Iranians.

在干燥恶劣的环境中找到纯净水并创造出良田绿洲,似乎是不可能完成的任务。然而,伊朗人却找到了长久有效的方法——古伊朗工程坎儿孜(kariz)。它的阿拉伯语名字更广为人知——坎儿井(qanat)。坎儿井距今有3000多年的历史,2016年被列入联合国教科文组织世界遗产名录,是古伊朗人智慧的结晶。

Going underground

向下挖掘

Simply put, a qanat is an underground channel that carries fresh water from an elevated source in the mountains to an opening at a lower altitude for the purposes of irrigation – a perfect solution in a region with an abundance of mountains. Once a possible source of fresh water is identified, indicated by the presence of an alluvial fan (a triangle-shaped sedimentary deposit at the base of a mountain), a shaft like one of the ‘anthills’ I’d seen is bored underground until the water source is reached. While in some cases not much digging is required, other shafts can extend up to 300m below ground. Numerous other anthill-like shafts are then bored at regular intervals to extract soil as well as provide ventilation for the workers excavating the earth below. To make things even more difficult, the slope of the qanat must be precisely calculated: too steep an incline, and the water’s downward force will erode the qanat; too flat, and the water won’t flow.

简单来说,坎儿井是一条地下水道,将高处山地水源引向海拔较低处,用来灌溉农田。这是山地解决干旱问题的绝佳方法。通过冲积扇(山脚的扇形堆积体)找到可能的水源,再向下挖掘"蚁穴"似的竖井,连接到水源。有些竖井不需要挖太深,有些则深达300多米。每隔一段就会有一个蚁穴似的竖井,数量非常多,排出土壤的同时为掏土工人提供新鲜空气。更加困难的是,坎儿井的坡度需要经过准确计算:坡度太大,水流会侵蚀坎儿井;太过平缓,水流又难以流动。

The complex system was well worth the effort, however. These underground aqueducts have allowed Iranians for millennia to access and transport water in some of its most arid regions. One of the most impressive examples is in the Fars province of south-west Iran. Here, the city of Persepolis was built by the Achaemenid Persians (550-330BC) in a hot and dusty plain surrounded by the Zagros Mountains. The location was not exactly endowed with nature’s bounty. Yet, by way of the qanat, Persepolis became the epicentre of an empire that stretched from Greece to India, and was regarded by many as the most luxurious city in the world, famed for its opulent palaces and exquisite gardens. As such, it’s easy to see why the distinctly Iranian hue of blue – known as abi in Persian, literally meaning ‘water-like’ – is nothing short of ubiquitous throughout the country.

然而,建造这些复杂系统的艰辛没有白费。数千年来,通过这些地下井渠,伊朗人能够在最干旱的地区获取和运输水源。伊朗西南部的法尔斯省是最好的例证之一。平原的周围是扎格罗斯山脉,气候炎热、尘土飞扬,阿契美尼德王朝(公元前550年至330年)的波斯人在这里建造了波斯波利斯城。这片土地并未得到大自然的恩赐。但是,通过坎儿井,波斯波利斯成为这个横跨希腊和印度的帝国的中心,在许多人眼中是当时最繁华的城市,以其富丽堂皇的宫殿和美轮美奂的花园闻名。这样,我们就能明白为什么独特的伊朗蓝色——波斯语中是"abi",意思是"像水一样的",随处可见。

The qanat system was so effective that it soon spread to other corners of the world, first through the ancient Persians’ conquests, and later by way of the Muslim Arabs, who adopted the system from the Persians and carried it with them as far as Andalusia, Sicily and North Africa. According to William B Hemsley in The Qanat: An Ancient Water Supply, so highly did the ancient Egyptians value the qanat system that the Persian emperor Darius the Great “was later honoured with the title of Pharaoh” in return for introducing it to them.

坎儿井系统十分有效,广为流传。一开始是通过古波斯人的征服扩张传播到各处,后来阿拉伯穆斯林从波斯人那里学会了这种系统并带到远至安达卢西亚、西西里岛和北非各地。赫姆斯利(William B Hemsley)在《坎儿井:古老的供水方式》( The Qanat: An Ancient Water Supply)一书中写道:古埃及人十分珍视坎儿井系统,为表谢意,波斯君主大流士一世"后来被尊称为法老"。

Play it cool

清凉降温

Not only does the qanat provide necessary drinking water, it also helps lower indoor temperatures. In Yazd in central Iran, where summers can be stiflingly hot, the qanat is as indispensable as it is ingenious. Used in combination with a badgir (an Iranian wind-catcher), the water in the qanat cools warm incoming air, which enters it through a shaft, before being released into a basement and expelled through the openings at the top of the badgir. In houses in Yazd, for instance, this ancient method of air conditioning is still widely used, and is an inseparable aspect of engineering and architecture.

坎儿井不仅提供了所需的饮用水,还能帮助降低室内温度。在伊朗中部的亚兹德,夏季酷热难耐,坎儿井除了用来供水以外,用来降温也必不可少。与风塔(伊朗的捕风塔)配合使用,坎儿井内的水能冷却吹进室内的热风。风通过竖井进入,随后进入地下室并通过风塔顶部开口排出。在亚兹德的房子中,这种古老的空调方法仍在广泛使用,是工程和建筑不可或缺的一部分。

Similarly, the qanat made it possible to store large quantities of ice year round in desert climates. Constructed in conical shapes made of an admixture of heat-resistant materials, and also making use of Iranian wind-catching technology, the yakhchal (literally ‘ice pit’) is an ancient Iranian form of refrigeration dating to around 400BC. In the winter months, water would be sourced from a qanat and left to freeze in the yakhchal’s basement enclosure before being cut into blocks and stored for year-round use. Air entering through the qanat shafts and cooled by the underground water would further assist in reducing temperatures.

与之相似,坎儿井让在沙漠气候中常年储存大量冰块成为可能。冰塔(yakhchal)(在波斯语中意为冰坑)是约为公元前400年古伊朗的冰箱,形状为圆锥形,由耐热材料混合建成,也用到了伊朗的捕风技术。在冬季,通过坎儿井引来的水在冰塔地下室冻上,然后切成冰块供整年使用。通过坎儿井竖井吹进的空气已经经过地下水冷却,能够帮助降低温度。

‘We must cultivate our garden’

"花园必不可少"

But the qanats weren’t only for physical sustenance; they also served a spiritual purpose. Despite their harsh environs, through this feat in engineering the ancient Persians were able to construct the renowned, Unesco-listed Persian garden.

坎儿井不仅满足了伊朗人的物质需求,还哺育了他们的精神世界。尽管环境恶劣,这项工程让古波斯人建造了闻名世界、列入联合国教科文组织世界遗产名录的波斯花园。

Heavenly to behold and enjoy – in stark contrast to the parched surroundings – these lush oases, often arranged in four sections as a chahar bagh (literally ‘four gardens’) ­– are replete with trees, flowers, fountains and waterways, all meticulously arranged in harmony and symmetry to reflect the Zoroastrian adoration of nature and the elements. It’s not surprising that descriptions of paradise in the Abrahamic faiths have their origins in the Persian garden, which the Persians called pari-daida (denoting a walled garden), from which the word ‘paradise’ derives.

波斯花园宛若天堂。和周围干燥的环境形成强烈的对比,这些茂密的绿洲通常是分为四个部分的波斯园林查赫巴格(chahar bagh)(意为'四个花园'),充满着精心布置,和谐对称的花朵、树木、喷泉、水道,无不彰显着拜火教对大自然的爱慕。不难理解为什么亚伯拉罕诸教对天堂的描述起源于波斯花园:波斯人叫做pari-daida(意为围墙花园),天堂(paradise)一词就是从这里来的。

According to Iranian Studies scholar Touraj Daryaee, the ancient Persian gardens “held every sort of plant and flower, irrigated by running water, a most precious commodity for the inhabitants of the plateau.” The Bagh-e Shazdeh (Prince’s Garden) near Kerman in central Iran is a dazzling example: seen from above, it beggars belief that such a wonderland of greenery and gushing springs could exist surrounded by nothing but parched earth and rugged mountains. But gardens – which are, by and large, open to the public – can be seen all around the country.

伊朗研究学者达瑞亚(Touraj Daryaee)称,古波斯花园"花草植物种类繁多,用流水来灌溉,水是高原居民最宝贵的财富。"伊朗中部克尔曼附近的王子花园(Bagh-e Shazdeh)就是一个炫目的例子:从上面往下看,很难想象在干燥的土地和崎岖的群山之间会有这样绿树环绕,泉水汩汩的人间仙境。大多数花园对大众开放,在全国各处都能见到。

When in my native Tehran, I can often be caught sipping on traditional Iranian chai, savouring the picturesque scenery, oblivious to the hustle and bustle on the outside streets, at the Bagh-e Khoshnevisan (Calligraphers’ Garden), Bagh-e Muzeh (Museum Garden) and Bagh-e Ferdows (Paradise Garden), all of which are in the north of the city. I mainly visit to escape the stifling summertime smog, and to enjoy the sound of fountains and singing birds amid leafy plane trees, shrubbery and flowerbeds, all of which evoke the florid poetry of Hafez and Sa’di.

当我在家乡德黑兰时,我经常置身于城市北部的书法家花园(Bagh-e Khoshnevisan)、博物馆花园(Bagh-e Muzeh)或是天堂花园(Paradise Garden),边喝着传统伊朗茶边欣赏着如画的风景,任凭大街上车来人往。我来花园主要是为了逃离夏日令人窒息的雾霾,在枝叶茂密的梧桐树、灌木丛和花坛中,听听泉水叮咚、鸟儿歌唱。这里也是让哈菲兹(Hafez)和萨迪(Sa'di)的诗兴大发的地方。

As with the qanat, the Persian garden not only continues to thrive in modern-day Iran – where it also informs much of carpet-making in terms of layout, design and themes – but also elsewhere around the world. The impact of the chahar bagh philosophy can be seen as far away as Versailles in France, the gardens and courtyards of the Alhambra and the palaces of Marrakech, having been imported by the Arabs in the case of the latter two.

和坎儿井一样,波斯花园不只在当代伊朗欣欣向荣——影响着波斯地毯的布局、设计和主题,在世界其它地方也蓬勃发展。查赫巴格哲学的深远影响就如同法国的凡尔赛宫、阿罕布拉的花园和庭院、马拉喀什的宫殿一样,后两项已被阿拉伯人引进。

However, the best examples outside Iran perhaps belong to Mughal-era India and Pakistan. Just as the Mughals considered Persian the apex of refinement when it came to language, so too did they the Persian garden where horticulture and landscape architecture were concerned. Using the chahar bagh as a template, the gardens of the Taj Mahal and Humayun’s Tomb, for example, were naturally called chahar baghs by the Mughals, and still are today.

然而,在伊朗外最好的例子在莫卧儿时代的印度和巴基斯坦。莫卧儿人认为波斯语是最高级的语言,同样他们也认为波斯花园代表最顶尖的园艺和园林建筑。以查赫巴格为模板,比如,泰姬陵和胡马雍陵墓的花园被莫卧儿人自然地称作查赫巴格,时至今日还有这样的叫法。

A steady flow

水流不断

Although technological innovations have reduced the reliance of Iranians on the qanat, the aqueducts are still prominent and widespread throughout the country. With tens of thousands of qanats in Iran today boasting a total distance comparable to that between the Earth and the moon, the ingenuity of the ancient Persians has more than stood the test of time. In accordance with the ancient Iranian/Zoroastrian reverence for nature and the elements, it is incomparable as a sustainable and environmentally friendly method of not only fresh water extraction, but air conditioning and refrigeration. As well, in rural contexts, it allows for the equitable distribution of water, and through the necessity of its ongoing maintenance brings about social collaboration.

虽然科技创新减轻了伊朗人对坎儿井的依赖,这种暗渠还是在伊朗广泛使用。伊朗成千上万的坎儿井加起来的长度可以同地球到月球的距离相比拟。古波斯人的智慧结晶经受住了时间的检验。由于古伊朗人/拜火教徒对大自然的崇敬,坎儿井作为一种可持续且环保的方法不但能汲取新鲜水源,还能调节空气,用作冰箱,是无可取代的。而且,在乡村地区,坎儿井考虑到了水源的平均分布,其日常维护又加强了社会合作。

Despite Cyrus the Great’s world renown as a wise, just and compassionate leader, one can’t help but wonder what the empire he founded – the basis of modern-day Iran, barring politics – would have been without the aid of the qanat. What would the Persian army and people have done without access to fresh water? What would Persepolis – and the innumerable cities in the vast dominion of the Empire – have looked like, devoid of the pleasure gardens that forever changed the face of horticulture and landscape architecture?

居鲁士大帝是世界闻名的贤明、公正、善良的领袖,除了政治以外,他所创建的帝国还是现代伊朗的基础。但是,人们不禁去想,如果没有坎儿井,这个帝国会是什么样子?如果没有水源,波斯军队和人民怎么办?波斯的快乐园林永久改变了园艺和园林建筑风貌,没有它们,波斯波利斯会是什么样子?还有帝国辽阔疆域中数不清的其它城市会是什么样子?

For a people who, according to scholar of religion Bruce Lincoln, “… meant to conquer the entire known world in the name of establishing Paradise on Earth”, as Daryaee reports him to have posited, doing so from Iran’s often ruthless climate without the wonder of engineering that is the qanat might have been little more than a pipe dream.

宗教学者林肯(Bruce Lincoln)认为,"(波斯人)注定要以建立人间天堂之名征服整个已知世界。" 但如同达瑞亚假设的那样,对于波斯人而言,以伊朗严酷的气候条件,如果没有工程奇迹坎儿井的帮助,建立帝国简直是无稽之谈。

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