Stone Refrigerators

Curious constructions used to produce ice for keeping food fresh during the summer.


Also referred to as “snow pits”, they are curious constructions that were used to produce ice to keep food fresh in summer, by using the snow that fell and was collected for a few days in winter.

The best-preserved refrigerator

There are very few remaining examples of these constructions in Alcarria, which were hugely popular. But here in Sacedón we are lucky enough to have a few magnificently preserved examples.

The most striking, best preserved, and accessible one, is the one that is to the left of the old N-320 road, past the Campsite. It is a hollow construction of limestone masonry that is 6 metres high and topped with a pointed vault that gives it a conical appearance from the outside. The stones inside are sealed together with a layer of compact plaster. The inside can be accessed via two openings, which are1.60 metres high and 90 centimetres wide. The inside was a kind of deep pit, with a depth of ten metres (sometimes 15).

How they were used

The refrigerators were used by shovelling snow in through the openings. The snow had either fallen in the area, or was brought from the mountains in carts and on horseback. In documents from la Isabela we read that they used to make pools of water next to the river so that they would ice up. At the bottom of the well two other men would spread the snow out and compress it down to form a large solid block. When the frozen snow was half a metre thick they would put a layer of straw on top. This insulated the snow and kept it permanently at a low temperature.

In the summer, when ice was needed, a couple of people would go back down the well and use a pick to break off pieces of ice, that they loaded into a basket and shouted up for the people to haul it out. This pulley system that lowered and raised the basket full of snow and ice, was suspended from a beam that crossed over the vault. This work was done at night, or at dawn, to prevent the ice from melting.

The other two refrigerators

There was another refrigerator in Sacedón, located in the area called “La Olmedilla”. Now it is visible when the water level goes down in the reservoir. It is also very well preserved.

Finally there is another one in the area of La Isabela. According to surviving records it was built in 1830, to supply the ice needed in the spa, during the summer. It was called “Pozo de la Nieve” (Snow Pit) and it was in the highest part of the village, about 1.5 km from the country house in “Las Majadillas”. It consists of “a cylindrical tank made of masonry and covered by a hemispheric vault”. It is also preserved in perfect condition, right up to today.


They are located within the municipal district of Sacedón. One of them is in the area of La Isabela. Another is near the N-320 road and another is near the Entrepeñas reservoir.

Links of interest

Other places in the area

¡Make the best use of your visit!

Monsalud Monastery

One of the clearest and most beautiful examples of the presence of the Cistercian order in the Iberian Peninsula.

Roman Bridge

Built in 1461, it crosses the Tagus River and connects the municipal districts of Auñón and Sacedón.

La Isabela Settlement

Ruins of an old spa, which then became a psychiatric hospital. These ruins were submerged, but are now above water again.

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