By Moslem Foroudi

Abarkouh hidden pearl

March 12, 2019

Yazd- Abarkouh, a city with a thousand years of splendid background, is located in southwest of Yazd province, with an area of 5,641 square kilometers.

Abarkouh has tens of landmarks, including castles, traditional mansions, an ice house and importantly a 4500-year-old cypress tree. The ice house or its equal in Persian (yakh-chal) is located right at the entrance of the city as an unmissable structure.

Boasting an elegant design, the ice house gets everybody’s attention, prompting travelers to stop and take a few photos at least.

This building is almost 300 years old. When there was no electricity, no refrigerators, no appliances, people kept a huge amount of water outside of the ice house next to a very high wall. The high wall cast a shadow that kept the water cool.

But how it preserved ice for the locals in its heyday?

Easy! Water turned into ice in during the wintertime. Then people cut the ice into many portable parts and put them in the ice house, then covered the surface of the ice with a special local grass called Pizoo.

This structure is built high to minimize the contact of warm air with the ice surface as the warm air floats upwards. The feature of the ice house was essential to its functioning. Amazingly there is a well behind the ice house that is 25 meters deep. And there is a connective canal at the bottom of the ice house with the well with a slight slope.

What has been the purpose of this well? When people piled up the ice, a little amount of water remained under the heap of ice. If the water was not removed it would make the rest of the ice melt.

By channeling the water into the well, not only did they prevent the ice stored in the ice house from melting, but also they had cold and tasty water during summer months when the weather go up to 40 degrees Celsius.

They made this structure in cony form to decrease and divide the pressure onto other parts in case of collapsing. It’s a wonder how people at that time knew how to meet their needs by living in harmony with nature and the seasons.

AFM/MQ/MG

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