IRAN - The Ancient Way to Keep Cool

Arno Froese

Among Yazd’s ancient technologies is the wind catcher, or bâdgir in Persian. These remarkable structures are a common sight soaring above the rooftops of Yazd. They are often rectangular towers, but they also appear in circular, square, octagonal and other ornate shapes.

Yazd is said to have the most wind catchers in the world, though they may have originated in ancient Egypt. In Yazd, the wind catcher soon proved indispensable, making this part of the hot and arid Iranian Plateau livable.

As a wind catcher requires no electricity to power it, it is both a cost-efficient and green form of cooling. With conventional mechanical air conditioning already accounting for a fifth of total electricity consumption globally, ancient alternatives like the wind catcher are becoming an increasingly appealing option.

The shape of the tower, alongside factors like the layout of the house, the direction the tower is facing, how many openings it has, its configuration of fixed internal blades, canals and height are all finely tuned to improve the tower’s ability to draw wind down into the dwellings below.

Wherever it was first invented, wind catchers have since become widespread across the Middle East and North Africa. Variations of Iran’s wind catchers can be found in the barjeels of Qatar and Bahrain, the malqaf of Egypt, the mungh of Pakistan, and many other places, notes Fatemeh Jomehzadeh of the University of Technology Malaysia and colleagues.

Parham Kheirkhah Sangdeh has extensively studied the scientific application and surrounding culture of wind catchers in contemporary architecture at Ilam University in Iran. He says inconveniences like pests entering the chutes and the gathering of dust and desert debris have meant many have turned away from traditional wind catchers.

While researchers such as Kheirkhah Sangdeh argue that the wind catcher has much more to give in cooling homes without fossil fuels, this ingenious technology has already migrated further around the world than you might think., 10 August 2021

Arno's Commentary

Iran, formerly known as Persia, has in the past had an intense relationship with Jewish people. Wikipedia writes: “Persian Jews have lived in the territories of today’s Iran for over 2,700 years.” An article from the Library of Congress states: “Over the centuries, the Jews of Iran became physically, culturally, and linguistically indistinguishable from the non-Jewish population.” Did Jews have a hand in these ancient wind-cooled towers? That’s difficult to determine.

However, these wind catchers—although emission-free, thus environmentally friendly—are definitely limited to certain geographic areas. Comparatively, the wind-catchers have little to no chance of replacing modern air conditioners.

We publish excerpts of this interesting article because of the Jewish relationship to Persia/Iran in better days. Here we must quote 2 Chronicles 36:23: “Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath the Lord God of heaven given me; and he hath charged me to build him an house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? The Lord his God be with him, and let him go up.”

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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