Oct 21, 2021

Desert Freezer Invented In 400 BCE? Yakhchals Yazd, Iran

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How did the ancient inhabitants of the hot Iranian desert keep themselves cool during the intensely hot summers where even being in the shade is very unpleasant?
Well, besides the windcatchers they had in their homes of course, since we spoke about them a while ago.
Think about being in the middle of a hot dry desert, it would be a blessing to be able to drink cold beverages and eat ice cream in the middle of summer to cool off, or to keep your meat, dairy, fruits and other foods fresh for longer periods of time by cooling them.
But I am hearing you asking yourselves… ice?? how on earth would they be able to provide ice in the middle of a hot and dry desert?
The answer to that is simple yet innovative; build a Yakhchal.

We don’t know for certain where the first ice houses were built on the planet, and we aren’t sure about when the first yakhchal was built either but we do know that around 400 BCE the Persian engineers were already mastering the art of storing ice in the middle of the desert, it was already a widespread phenomenon around this time.
This shows that the actual invention of the Yakhchal happened much earlier as you don’t master something by doing it for a short amount of time, but it’s unfortunately unclear for how long.
The practice of storing ice itself was already long established by the time of 400 BCE, we know for a fact that the Mongols were already storing ice for quite some time, although again it’s unclear for how long, but there are accounts of them doing it before 400 BCE.
Ice was mentioned in older texts in Iran from before 400 BCE, but there was no mention of how it was produced, which doesn’t allow scholars to interpret that as yakhchals already being used for very long before 400 BCE, although it is of course hypothesized as I said earlier, you don’t master something by doing it for a short amount of time.

Music; Adrian von Ziegler.
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1 Faculty of Architecture and urban planning, Shahid Beheshti University, Iran.…rigerator/

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