Anno 1404 Wiki
Must be built on Desert terrain.
Makes the Land green.

The Noria is an Oriental Public building that increases the fertility of the ground within its Influence area. It is indispensable for settling the Orient, as it will be near-impossible to cultivate all the required Goods without fertile land. There are two sizes of Noria; the Small noria and the Large noria. While they differ in size and cost, the mechanics of how they fertilise the area remains the same. They increase the productivity of Fields placed on Desert soil from 10% to 100%, and on Grassland from 100% to 145%. This bonus is applied once for every Noria within range, which makes it possible to increase fertility to even higher levels. The Water level of the Noria will deplete by 1 ton for each ton of Goods that is produced within its Influence area. The Water capacity of the Noria can be increased using the Attainment "The Nomads' Secret".

Small noria[]

Small noria
Small noria
Building details
Cost Gold coins 1000 • Wood 5 • Tools 3
Maintenance Maintenance cost 30 (Inactive: Maintenance cost 15)
Prerequisites Diplomatic rank 1 50 Prestige
Size 3 x 3
Icon Small noria icon

The Small noria is unlocked as soon as the first Oriental buildings become available, and immediately becomes important for cultivating Dates and Spices. Because of its small size, the Small noria is ideal for stacking fertility and is used in most of the Noria layouts. It also has an impractically small Influence area compared to the high Maintenance cost, however, which makes it less ideal for general use. The Small noria has a maximum Water capacity of 500 tons, which can be increased using "The Nomads' Secret".

  • The Nomads' Secret 0: 500 tons of Water
  • The Nomads' Secret 1: 1000 tons of Water
  • The Nomads' Secret 2: 1500 tons of Water
  • The Nomads' Secret 3: 2500 tons of Water

Large noria[]

Large noria
Large noria
Building details
Cost Gold coins 2500 • Tools 8 • Mosaic 30
Maintenance Maintenance cost 40 (Inactive: Maintenance cost 20)
Prerequisites Diplomatic rank 4 500 Prestige
Envoys 1040 Envoys
Size 6 x 4
Icon Large noria icon

The Large noria is unlocked after reaching Envoys 1040 Envoys. It has a much larger Influence area than the Small noria, with only a small increase in Maintenance cost. The Construction cost is much higher, however, and it takes up more space. Despite these downsides, the Large noria is usually a huge improvement over the Small noria in terms of effectiveness. The Large noria can hold up to 5000 tons of water, which can once again be increased using "The Nomads' Secret". Shown in parentheses is the ratio of water capacity compared to the Small noria at the same Attainment level.

  • The Nomads' Secret 0: 5000 tons of Water (10x)
  • The Nomads' Secret 1: 5500 tons of Water (5.5x)
  • The Nomads' Secret 2: 6000 tons of Water (4x)
  • The Nomads' Secret 3: 7000 tons of Water (2.8x)

The Nomads' Secret and Noria Refills[]

The Nomads' Secret is a Level II Oriental attainment that increases Noria capacity by 500, 1,000, or 2,000 tons of water relative to base capacity. However, the cost for completely refilling a Noria remains the same regardless of attainment level (a.k.a. capacity): 1,000 for a Small noria and 2,500 for a Large noria. This means you pay considerably less per ton of water at higher levels of Nomad's Secret, especially for the Small noria:

Nomad's Secret Small noria
1000 to refill
Large noria
2500 to refill
Rank Honor Increase
to Base
Capacity Cost /
Capacity Cost /
0 - - - 500 2.000 5,000 0.500
1 100 500 500 1,000 1.000 5,500 0.455
2 200 1,000 500 1,500 0.667 6,000 0.417
3 300 2,000 1,000 2,500 0.400 7,000 0.357

When you increase your attainment level, all your norias have water added equal to the amount of the relative increase, so it doesn't matter if you advance when they're full or empty. Still, if you don't have much money but do have some Honor, Nomads' Secret can add water for "free". Nomads' Secret also reduces the annoyance of refills, especially if exploiting Norias: you only need to refill Small norias one-fifth as often with the third rank of Nomad's Secret.

Fertility mechanics[]

Despite what the Building description tells us, Norias can be used to increase the fertility of both Desert and Grassland. Norias are only half as effective on Grassland as they are on Desert, however, regardless of where that Grassland appears. Whether the fertile soil is on northern on southern Islands does not matter. Note that the productivity boost of a Noria is only applied when the Farm building that the fields belong to is within range of the Noria. The game also calculates each field's base productivity and noria-boosted productivity separately and rounds each down to a full percentage point before summing them. This can lead to small deviations from results obtained using the formulas compared to what's shown in-game.

Dry soil[]

The base fertility of a field placed on dry soil is 10%. This score is increased by 90% if the field is placed within the Influence area of a Noria. The end result is that Farm buildings within the Influence area of a Noria act as though they were on Grassland, which makes it easy for new players to understand the mechanic. We can continue to increase the field productivity by 90% for each additional Noria we place, however. The final productivity will then (roughly) be computed with the following formula.

, where

  • is the farm's maximum productivity, limited to 100%;
  • is the number of fields on dry soil;
  • is the number Norias in range of the farm;
  • is the intended number of fields for this farm type.

Green soil[]

The base productivity for a field placed on Grassland is 100%. This productivity can increased by 45%[1] using Norias. Substituting these numbers in the aforementioned formula gives:

, where

  • is the number of fields on Green soil.

Mixed fertilities[]

Not all fields need to always have the same fertility. We can mix different field fertilities, and the total productivity will simply be their sum. The formula will then start to look as follows.

Noria "exploit"[]

Using Norias to increase the fertility of a field beyond 100% is often referred to as the Noria exploit. Some players contend that this is likely an unintended game mechanic. It should be noted, however, that the tooltip for Norias specifically states that "Multiple Norias increase fertility", and that the technique was never removed in the three patches the game received. In fact, the developers tweaked the effect of Norias in patch 1.3 to reduce its effectiveness on Green soil from 45% to 15%, which shows that they are aware of it. As a result, it is generally considered an advanced technique, and has been widely adopted for creating highly efficient Production layouts. These layouts are essential for reaching the largest worldwide population levels possible, since the ultimate limiting factor in the end-game is lack of land. Regardless of why or how it came to be, the Noria exploit allows players to push the growth potential of their empire to new levels.

100% productivity combinations[]

This section lists the number of Norias you need to place in range of various farms to achieve 100% productivity.

Farm type
Number of fields on dry soil Number of fields on green soil
Number of norias required to have 100% productivity
3-field farms WheatMilk
1 2 3 1 2 3
4 2 1 5 2 0
4-field farms SpicesCiderHempAnimal hides
1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4
5 3 2 1 7 3 1 0
5-field farms CattleGrapesDatesIndigoSilkCoffee beansSugar caneAlmondsBeeswax[2]
1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5
6 3 2 2 1 9 4 2 1 0
6-field farms Rose oil
1 2 3 4 5 6 1 2 3 4 5 6
7 4 3 2 2 1 12 5 3 2 1 0
8-field farms Herbs
- - - - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
- - - - 16 7 4 3 2 1 1 0

The Noria exploit also works with trees (e.g., lumberjacks and charcoal burners), presumably in a comparable way, but the exact mechanics have not been worked out.

Other images[]


  1. As of patch 1.3 of the base game, the noria bonus on green soil has been reduced to about 15%.
  2. Apiaries do not benefit from norias and thus the exploit does not function for this farm type.