Centuries before electricity was even a thought in the mind of man, ancient Persians had developed an ingenious refrigeration technology. They had found a way to keep their food cool and store ice during hot summer days in the middle of scorching deserts. They called this cooling wonder the Yakhchal (ice house). Today, you can see many of these Yakhchals in Iran, including Yakhchal Moayedi in Kerman.
Yakhchal Moayedi is the largest mud-brick ice house in the world. It is a Safavid-era Yakhchal with a stepped conical adobe structure. The ice house is about eighteen meters high. Next to the cone-shaped structure, you can see tall mud walls which provided winter shade to ice-making pools.
Qanat waters used to run through gardens which surrounded the Yakhchal. During winter, water froze inside the underground canals. The ice would be then slid into the Yakhchal for use in warmer months. There is a trench at the bottom of the ice house to catch the melt-water and allow it to refreeze during the cold desert nights. An interesting point about Yakhchals is that their cone-shaped dome guided heat upwards and helped keep the interior cold throughout the year.
Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handcrafts and Tourism Organization has designated Yakhchal Moayedi as a national heritage site. The ice house is not far from Kerman’s city center and deserves to be among attractions you visit during your visit to the city.