You may think that refrigerators and freezers are inventions of the 20th century but there is historic proof that hundreds of years ago, the ancient Persians had already found a way to store ice in the middle of the dessert and in the middle of summer.
How did they do it?
Well, this so-called Yakhchal (“ice pit” in Persian) was located in underground spaces, which were used to store ice as well as some food items.
So, how did they get the ice you might ask…well, one way was to actually get ice from the icy river in the winter and store it. A more common and, also, a very smart way was to use the wall made on the north side of the yakhchal. The water channelled along the wall would freeze faster on a winter day thus producing more ice.
The ice produced and stored was kept in large underground pits with very thick walls made of a special heat and water resistant mortar. In many cases these large storage areas were provided with access to tall “wind catching” towers, which would allow cold air to enter them even in the warmest days of summer.
So making and storing ice, which we thought was a relatively recent invention, was actually first introduced as early as 400 BCE by the ancient Persians. Even today, Iranians still call the modern fridges and freezers “yakhchals”.