|Location:||Yazd (31.893494, 54.369749)|
|Address:||Amir Chakhmaq Complex, Tel: +98-, Fax: +98-,|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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مجموعه میدان امیرچخماق or Majmūʿa Meydân Amir Čaqmaq (Amir Chakhmaq Complex) is a famous mosque in Yazd, Iran. It was named after Amir Jalaleddin Chakhmaq, a governor of Yazd during the Timurid dynasty (15th–16th century). This was during the reign of Shah Rukh, a son of Timur, better known as Tamerlane. It has a caravanserai, a tekyeh, a bathhouse, a cold water well, and a confectionery. The complex has two huge underground structures, the shabestan or basement which is used during summer, and the water reservoir or cistern.
Amir Chakhmaq water cistern is one of the endowments of Setti Fatemeh Khatoon. She was the wife of Amir Chakhmaq Shami. The cistern is located on the left side of the entrance to the complex, and it was created before the construction of the mosque. It was a huge water reservoir which was intended to hold back possible floods after heavy rains, during the construction of the mosque. Then the shabestan was built and finally the mosque. Finally the water reservoir was transformed into a cistern, by the addition of a dome and a staircase with 49 step which leads down to the floor. This history is the reason why the faucet of the cistern is not in front of the entrance, which is quite exceptional.
The cistern floor is sealed with lead, to avoid the loss of water. The lead is covered by clay and some limestone to purify the water. Fish were swimming in the water for two reasons: they fed on the algae and thus kept the water clean, and they were like a canary in a coal mine, when they died the water was poisoned. The water flows into the cistern through the Qanats of Kheyrabad and Fahraj. A qanat is a typical structure for water collection in the Middle East, underground tunnels collect the rare rains and direct them to cisterns. The tunnels and the cisterns have roofs to keep the water cool and avoid evaporation.
Three wind catchers embedded into the system provide cool air for the shabestan. This chimneys on top of the mosque roof produce low air pressure when wind blows. The holes are on the lee side and the air is sucked out. They are connected with the shabestan which is connected with the cistern, which is connected with the qanats. In the end there is a stream of cool air flowing from the qanats to the shabestan which works like an air condition.
The cistern is not in use as a cistern any more, it was transformed into a museum and opened for the tourists. The exhibition explains the water management in arid areas.