Close this search box.

Ice House takes fresh water in Deserts

The ice houses are ancient buildings made of adobe and one of the most spectacular attractions of Meybod in Yazd.
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Introduction to Ice House

In each period, human beings have been trying to make life easier by using knowledge and technology. One of these innovations is Ice Houses with their particular architecture; You can see Ice Houses or Ice in many parts of Iran. When we talk about the historic city of Yazd, the first thing that comes to mind is the heat and the scorching desert. However, one of the most spectacular attractions of Yazd is the Meybod bricked Ice House, which is 50 km from the city and is the best largest bricked Ice Chamber in the world. Meybod refrigerator or Ice House is compatible with the ecology of the region.

History of Ice House

One of the most uses of ice is to cool beverages and store perishable food. The method of preparation of this valuable substance has varied throughout history depending on human scientific progress. Ice used to be one of the most precious commodities that not everyone in the community could afford it. The affluent sections of society bought and used ice the most. The ice was a valuable substance that the Ice Chamber workers received some ice instead of their wages, or some free ice in addition to their earnings. Therefore, the owners of the Ice Houses were among the wealthy cortex of society, and the aristocratic mansions that are next to some of the refrigerators confirm the theory. We should also note that the ice qualities were varied and graded.In Persia, a refrigerator or Ice Chamber was built to produce ice in the winter and store it until the summer, which is extremely important in terms of architecture. There is no exact information about the date of refrigerators’ construction. One of the oldest documents available refers to Jean Chardin, a French tourist, came to Persia during the Safavid period and reported in his travelogue that ice was prepared in the Ice House of Isfahan. Meybod bricked refrigerator dates back to before the Qajar and probably the Safavid periods.

Architecture and Performance of Ice House

Meybod bricked Ice House is a dome-type refrigerator. The dome is raw clay Dorchin type (in this way, the brick angle is variable to the horizon), its height is about 15 meters, and the width of the dome brick wall is reduced from top to bottom smartly. The Ice House materials are clay, mud, lime, wood, and stone. When creating the refrigerator, builders first filled the first 50 cm with stone, mortar, lime, and sand, then built the rest of the space with clay and mud. In the construction of the Meybod refrigerator, like other ones, three stages of ice making, freezing, and ice delivery have been considered. Meybod bricked refrigerator consists of shading walls, tank, basin, and large stool. The construction of its southern, western, and eastern walls caused a cold and cool shadow in the northern part of the Ice House in winter. On freezing winter nights, the aqueduct water was poured into the pond gradually and continuously, producing large pieces of ice, which was transferred to the ice tank under the refrigerator dome after the breaking process.

The brick wall of the Meybod Ice House contains a larger diameter in the lower parts than in the higher sections. The reason for building the refrigerator step by step is that less applied pressure to the dome. Also, the inner surface is deeper than the outer one. The Ice Chamber area is a muddy and shallow pond with an area of ​​about 8,000 square meters. The high walls of the refrigerator are pretty thick and reach a height of 8 meters. The refrigerator’s Ice storage has been built near the northern part and connected to the ice storage pond with a sloping surface.  To ventilate the air inside, builders make holes to let air in and out, leading to preserving the ice melting in summer.

Advantages to Human Life

With the construction of the Ice Houses, not only were hot and scorching summers less challenging, but water supplies were available for other seasons of the year, as well as for water shortages and possible droughts. Refrigerators were used twice a year, first in the middle of winter to store ice in the tank and cover the ice surface with straw and chaff, and again in mid-summer to use the accumulated ice for drinking and other needs.

Table of Contents