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Turkmenistan, Ancient Merv. September/04/2007... Shadows fall strong in the interior of a Timurid Icehouse at Ancient Merv. Amazing feats of engineering, these thick-walled, bee-hive structures were built for refrigeration purposes during the 14th-century. Slightly concave floors helped pool water in the basin during autumn months, which then froze with winter temperatures. Prevailing spring winds swept across Turkmenistan's Kara Kum desert, and the tops of these narrow apertured structures, creating a vacuum that sucked out interior humidity and kept air circulation constant. The ice and cool temperatures are believed to have lasted well into the summer months, making these buildings literal refrigerators of the desert.

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turkmenistan.092007.fujivelvia100.r1.35.jpg
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Owen Murray © 2007/www.ommphoto.ca
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Turkmenistan, Ancient Merv. September/04/2007... Shadows fall strong in the interior of a Timurid Icehouse at Ancient Merv. Amazing feats of engineering, these thick-walled, bee-hive structures were built for refrigeration purposes during the 14th-century. Slightly concave floors helped pool water in the basin during autumn months, which then froze with winter temperatures. Prevailing spring winds swept across Turkmenistan's Kara Kum desert, and the tops of these narrow apertured structures, creating a vacuum that sucked out interior humidity and kept air circulation constant. The ice and cool temperatures are believed to have lasted well into the summer months, making these buildings literal refrigerators of the desert.