19th-century Yakhchal to undergo urgent restoration

January 16, 2022 - 21:0

TEHRAN – Vital restoration will begin on a 19th-century Yakhchal (ice storage), which stands tall in the southern Kerman province. 

The Qajar-era (1789-1925) Yakhchal-e Zarisf is scheduled to undergo urgent restoration within two weeks, the deputy provincial tourism chief has announced.

Showering rain has exacerbated existing damage to the mudbrick structure which has not been restored for years, Mojtaba Shafiei said on Saturday.

The needed budget has been allocated to the project so that it can begin in two weeks, the official added. 

No longer retaining its original purpose, the monument serves as a Zurkahaneh, which is an Iranian traditional gym where the ancient sport of Varzesh-e Bastani is being practiced, he explained. 

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.

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 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.

Big and sprawling Kerman province is something of a cultural melting pot, blending various regional cultures over time. It is also home to rich tourist spots and historical sites including bazaars, mosques, caravanserais, and ruins of ancient urban areas.

The southern province is bounded by the provinces of Fars on the west, Yazd on the north, South Khorasan on the northeast, Sistan-Baluchestan on the east, and Hormozgan on the south. It includes the southern part of the central Iranian desert, the Dasht-e Lut.


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