Castle, traditional ice storage in Semnan being restored

October 10, 2021 - 19:30

TEHRAN - A historical castle and a traditional Yakhchal (mudbrick ice storage) in the village of Qatul, in the north-central city of Garmsar, Semnan province have undergone some rehabilitation works.

The castle’s worn-out materials are being replaced while it is reinforced and strengthened, Garmsar’s tourism chief has announced.

Yakhchal-e Qatul is also being repaired and restored, Mahvash Kamali said on Sunday, CHTN reported.

As part of the project, Yakhchal’s walls, foundation, and surrounding landscape are being repaired and restored, the official added.

Back in March the Qajar-era (1789–1925) Yakhchal, which was used to supply ice slabs to the neighboring towns and villages for decades, was turned into a museum.

The Yakhchal and Castle of Qatul have been inscribed on the National Heritage list.

When there was no electricity, no refrigerators, and no appliances, people kept a huge amount of water next to the high walls of Yakhchal, which cast a shadow that kept the water cool.

The water turned into ice during the wintertime. Then people cut the ice into many portable parts and put them in the ice house and covered the surface of the ice with special local grass.

The 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 storage was essential to its functioning.

There were also wells behind the ice storage with a connective canal at the bottom of the ice storage to the wells with a slight slope.

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 went up to 40 degrees Celsius.


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