The ancient Assarkhaneh (seed oil extraction workshop) in the Iranian city of Shahreza is a historic site which dates back to 300 years ago.

It is constructed in a 700-sqm area, with a built-up area of 500 square metres. It is located next to the 900-year-old bazaar of Shahreza.

“Assari” in Persian means extracting the essence from a substance. The person doing this is called an “Assar,” and the place where seed oil is extracted is called “Assarkhaneh.”

After plant seeds are ground, they are made into paste which is then be placed in a pit using special moulds. Then the paste is pressed with a large piece of wood to extract the seeds’ oil. The extracted oil is then put into clay pots to be used as fuel for oil-burning lamps for lighting. The seeds’ waste is collected and sold as fertilizer.

Today, this type of oil is used to preserve camel hide and dye rug yarn.

The following are Mehr’s photos of Shahreza’s Assarkhaneh:

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