Meybod Yakhchal

Around Yazd

Recently restored, this magnificent 400-year-old structure (one of the most impressive icehouses in Iran) dominates the north-facing part of the street, opposite the former post-house and caravanserai. The enormous, meticulously built mud and brick structure consists of two shallow icing ponds where water freezes in winter, tall 2m-thick walls that prevent the sun reaching the icing ponds, a pit for the storage of the ice from the ponds and a dome to shelter the ice from summer heat.

The dome walls are thick at the base but taper to a single brick at the top – a remarkable feat of engineering. Warm air, rising to the top of the dome, would have escaped through the hole that was closed once the storage area was full. A drain for any melted ice ensured that the stock wasn't spoilt by standing meltwater.