The marks of time

These large stores, which are generally rectangular or elliptical in shape, were dug into the ground and lined with dry stone. Normally they had a roof of reeds or tiles laid across wooden beams.

Snow was stored inside them by workers known as nevaters, who compacted it with their feet to turn it into ice. They then covered the ice with reeds, ash or straw, and it could be kept like that until summer, when it was sold in round pieces known as pans de neu. These were loaded onto mules and distributed in Palma and other Mallorcan towns.

The origin of this activity is still unknown. In the 17th century, ice became popular due to its numerous medicinal uses and its function in conserving food and making ice creams, leading to the construction of these ice stores. This activity went on until the early 20th century, when the first ice factories were introduced.

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