Ice houses or icehouses are buildings used to store ice throughout the year, commonly used prior to the invention of the refrigerator. Some were underground chambers, usually man-made, close to natural sources of winter ice such as freshwater lakes, but many were buildings with various types of insulation.
During the winter, ice and snow would be taken into the ice house and packed with insulation, often straw or sawdust. It would remain frozen for many months, often until the following winter, and could be used as a source of ice during summer months.
Around the corner from an 1800 year old Narin castle from the Sassannian times, the oldest mud-brick structure in Iran, we saw an ancient yakh dan (ice house) in Meybod. Another example of how they coped in the desert heat before electricity. It is located opposite the beautiful caravan serai and when standing in front of it you can see the top of a cone-shaped roof. Inside the yakh dan there is an enormous sunken bowl used to store the ice they would have collected in the mountains with their donkeys. Even in the searing summer heat they managed to store ice this way, using massive badgirs to keep the building cool.