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    Abarkooh Ice House Iran

    / 19th century
    Abarkooh - Abarkooh Ice House  Iran


    • Plan Your Visit: 30 min

    Abarkooh has 4 Adobe Ice Houses which date back to Qajar dynasty. Adobe Ice Houses (Yakhchal) are ancient buildings used to store ice and food throughout the year, commonly used prior to the invention of the refrigerator in the past.

    By 400 b.C., Persian engineers had mastered the technique of storing ice in the middle of summer in the desert. The ice could be brought in during the winters from nearby mountains, but more commonly they had a wall made along an east-west direction close to the yakhchal. In winter, the qanat water or measured amount of water was channelled into the pools to the north side of the wall where it froze during the night. The shadow of the wall made the water freeze more quickly so more ice was produced per winter day. The shade wall surrounding the pool also prevented sunlight from melting the ice. In the morning additional water was added to the pits and in this manner a layered block of ice was built up. After the ice in the pit reached a particular thickness, it was broken into blocks which were transferred to an deep underground ice storage pit covered by a dome which is sometimes conical in shape. The temperature in the ice storage remained low enough to preserve a fair quantity of ice through the winter and until the next winter. This large underground space (up to 5,000 m3) had thick walls (at least two meters at the base) made out of a special mortar called sārooj, composed of sand, clay, egg whites, lime, goat hair, and ash in specific proportions, and was resistant to heat transfer. This mixture was thought to be completely water impenetrable.

    If the Yakhchal has access to a kareez, the underground water distribution system, a badgir cooling system (a system of windcatchers or wind towers) used in conjunction with a kareez can help to cool the interior of the Yakhchal and hereby help to keep the melting of the stored ice to a minimum. The ice was then used to chill treats for royalty during hot summer days.Therefore, Yakhchals consist of five components:

    1. Pool,
    2. Shade wall around the pool,
    3. Ice storage pit,
    4. Dome, and
    5. An optional badgir 

    Notes & Recommendations:

    We should note that the Yakhchal may also look like an ab-anbar, a water storage tank kept cool by badgirs. The principle difference between the two is that the former stores ice and the latter stores water. Both can be kept cool by badgirs. 

    All these systems: the kareez, badgir and Yakhchal are environmentally friendly. They do not use an bio-fuels. They are also sustainable and follow Zoroastrian precepts of not harming the environment when used correctly according to the traditional methods.

    About Us

    The word Persia gives the image of a magical and mysterious land of far away and long ago, of ancient monuments and beautiful works of art – carpets, tiles, fine ceramics and miniatures. It also reminds us of legendary and tragic love stories and epic poems about great wars. And Persia is indeed a world ancient and contemporary, a bridge between heaven and earth. We want to show you around. Discover things to do on your next trip to Iran and plan a trip of your lifetime. Yes, it is that easy! This website gives you the tools to plan your trip to Iran: detailed information on destinations; inspiring ideas on what to see and do in each city; where to stay; where to eat; travel guides and let’s say everything you need so you can dream up a trip to Iran.


    This workshop is designed according to the UNESCO World Heritage Education Programme in order to give young people a chance to voice their concerns and to become involved in the protection of our common cultural and natural heritage. It seeks to encourage and enable tomorrow’s decision-makers to participate in heritage conservation and to respond to the continuing threats facing our World Heritage. The idea of involving young people in World Heritage preservation and promotion came as a response to Article 27 of the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (World Heritage Convention). Furthermore, Patrimonito means 'small heritage' in Spanish and the character represents a young heritage guardian. Patrimonito has been widely adopted as the international mascot of the World Heritage Education Programme.
    Date: 29th December
    Number of trainees: 7
    Duration: 3 hours

    The workshop of "Patrimonito" was held on 29th of December. Participants arrived around 10:30 and they were welcomed by hot chocolate and Persian cup cakes. After a little introduction by trainers and trainees, the process started by making two groups and letting them choose a name for their group, each group was accompanied by a mentor then each group was given some images of world heritage sites in Iran and some descriptions, each group was asked to match images and descriptions, the mentor was guiding them throughout the activity. All trainees were participating actively and trying to remember their experiences about their travels to these places. When they were done with the activity, the mentors started giving the answers and a brief explanation about each site; mentors were using trainees’ ideas and experiences to complete their tasks.

    Shortly after that, the second part started which was a presentation done by two of mentors. The aim of this presentation was to define the value of these world heritage sites and duties of each person as a "Patrimonito", and what happens if there is no "Patrimonito" and nobody cares about our tangible or intangible heritage. In this part trainees started questioning and understanding the whole concept of being a "Patrimonito", they also added their own suggestions on how to protect our heritage and by the end of this part, they were completely aware about their role as a "Patrimonito".
    Now it was a best time to have a short break, during the break trainees were introduced to some of intangible heritages as they were served by traditional food and snacks and even they way of serving was according to traditions and everyone had this opportunity to discuss about intangible heritage while enjoying some traditional food and snacks.
    When the break was done, everyone was asked to choose a heritage either tangible or intangible and they had to introduce their chosen heritage to a tourist by making a postcard using what they have learnt. They were given all of necessary tools such as color papers, color pencils, glue, scissors, images of heritage and a mentor was with them in order to help them completing the task.

    When they were done, they handed out their postcards and with the mentors they sat together and spent a few minutes asking and answering about what they have learnt. Then they were told to say their vows for protecting their heritage and caring about it, the mentor said the vow and the trainees repeated after her and they officially became a "Patrimonito".

    The last but the best part was when they were given the certificates, and they were told that since they are aware of the value of the heritage and they know how to protect it, they are chosen as "Patrimonito" and they should continue their mission by introducing the value of heritage to others. They were granted certificates and labels and the workshop of "Patrimonito" was finished by taking some memorial photos.