Iran: Abarkuh-Yazd Yakhchal (ice house)

360° panorama by Willy Kaemena.
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Iran – Abarkuh, yakhchal (ice house) By 400 b.C., Persian engineers had mastered the technique of storing ice in the middle of summer in the desert. The ice could be brought in during the winters from nearby mountains, but more commonly they had a wall made along an east-west direction close to the yakhchal. In winter, the qanat water was channelled to the north side of the wall. The shadow of the wall made the water freeze more quickly so more ice was produced per winter day. Ice was stored in a specially designed, passively cooled refrigerator. This was a large underground space (up to 5,000 m3) that had thick walls (at least two meters at the base) made out of a special mortar called sārooj, composed of sand, clay, egg whites, lime, goat hair, and ash in specific proportions, and which was resistant to heat transfer. This mixture was thought to be completely water impenetrable. The space often had access to a qanat, and often contained a system of windcatchers or wind towers that could easily bring temperatures inside the space down to frigid levels in summer days. The ice was then used to chill treats for royalty during hot summer days.

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