Hama is a river town, built on the banks of the Orontes. The town is famous for the 17 huge wooden water wheels, known as norias, which once scooped water from the river and deposited it into the aqueducts, which then supplied homes, public buildings and farms. These wheels are about 20 meters in diameter and still turn today, although their water is not used.
The norias situated in the town center are located in a public park and the Four Norias of Bichriyat are situated on a weir about 1km up-river from the town center. The largest noria is known as Al-Mohammediyyah.
Much of the old town, including the Grand Mosque, was destroyed during internal troubles in 1982, but some buildings have survived and many more are under a process of reconstruction.