30 August 2008

The pigeon towers of Isfahan

This past week Metafilter had a thread about pigeon towers built during the Safavid dynasty. This link goes to a flash slideshow showing the intricate internal architecture.

The Isfahan pigeon towers predate the perhaps more familiar dovecotes of England and France, and whereas the purpose of the ones in Medieval Europe was to house birds used for food, those of Isfahan and other arid regions such as Egypt were designed to accumulate guano that could then subsequently be used as fertilizer.

The Wiki discussion of dovecotes is excellent, and this site has photos and discussion of the ones in Wales. Alternative terms include "columbaria" (a borrowing of the Latin/Roman term) and "culverhouse" from the Anglo-Saxon term for pigeons.

Image credit to Wiki commons.

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