The Noria al-Muhammadiyya is the most famous of many norias in Hama. This giant operating noria is unique in both size and age. Built in 763 AH, or 1361 CE, and still in use today, it is a stand-alone water pump. The river that provides the water it raises also serves as its sole source of energy.
The diameter of its wheel is 21 meters (69 feet). Fourteen of the arches of its aqueduct still exist. Compared to the typical known size of waterwheels of 2 to 3 meters (7 to 9 feet), the Noria al-Muhammadiyya is among the largest water wheels ever constructed. It was restored in 1977 and is currently in service.
All norias are water wheels, but not all water wheels are norias. A water wheel typically drives something else e.g. a grindstone, machinery etc. A noria raises water from a stream or river and discharges it at a higher elevation.