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Climate change: How did the ancient Egyptians and Persians keep their homes cool?

Climate change: How did the ancient Egyptians and Persians keep their homes cool?

  • Kimya Shkohi
  • BBC

photo released, Scientific

From ancient Egypt to the Persian Empire, over thousands of years people have been able to cool their homes thanks to an innovative way to “catch” the breeze. In the search for zero-emission cooling, can we rely on what used to be “wind traps” again?

Yazd, in the desert of central Iran, has long been a focal point for ingenuity and creativity. Yazd is home to a system of ancient engineering marvels that includes an underground cooling structure called “Yakhshal”, an underground irrigation system called “canats” or canals, and even a network of couriers called “Peradazes” that predated the US Postal Service by more than 2,000 years.

Among the ancient techniques that appeared in the city of Yazd was a tool for “catching” the wind, or what is called in Persian as “badger”. These magnificent structures still rise above the rooftops of Yazd are a familiar sight there, and are often rectangular towers, but may take circular, square or octagonal ornate shapes.

Yazd is said to have the largest number of wind traps in the world, although this idea may have first appeared in ancient Egypt. In Yazd, wind traps soon proved indispensable, so that life could be made in this part of the hot and arid Iranian plateau.