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The Snow Well.

You are in Index Heritage The Snow Well.

Brief Description

Not far from Albuquerque, the snow well of Villar del Rey is the last remaining of its kind that is now preserved almost intact in Extremadura. It was built in the mid seventeenth century and is located on the outskirts of the town (on top of a hill), near the old chapel of Rocamador.


In spite of its location, this installation used for the storage of ice belonged to the city of Badajoz, in whose jurisdiction the village then belonged. At that time the collection of snow for the supply of Lower Extremadura was done by importing from the snowfields of northern Caceres and Bexar. It was transported by horses that travelled by night. They followed the route of Plasencia and Coria, which were divided into several sections, one of them lead to the wells of Albuquerque and Villar del Rey, which due to their higher position and easier access routes were convenient locations for the unloading, storage and conservation of sensitive goods.

With supplies becoming increasing difficult, the site was active in the storage of snow until the early twentieth century. Later the building was owned by the municipality, which allocated it different uses. In recent decades it has been used as stable housing by families in need, or without accommodation. This has undoubtedly contributed to the preservation of the building, avoiding the inevitable deterioration and destruction of abandoned buildings.

Constructively, the installation consists of a square building on the outside and on the circular inside, it is made of masonry and limestone, and enclosed by a graceful dome of latticed brick. The thickness of the walls in the main body exceeds the narrowest point by a meter and a half, as it was needed to maintain the temperature inside and out.

The building has been declared since 1999, a Cultural Monument .

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