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Pigeon house

Pigeon House

High buildings were not always used by humans, as there are some other special building. During Safavid dynasty, during the 16th and 17th centuries, lots of towers were built. They were used by pigeons and are known as pigeon towers or pigeon houses. But, why were they really built? Could not they build a small net for pigeons? Genuinely, the main purpose of these buildings were producing dungs. In fact they are one of the best fertilizers using in the farms. According to historians, Safavids liked melons, so probably they were mostly used in those farms.

Pigeon house

The history

It is not clear that when pigeon houses refers to but according to the comments of travelers, at least they have been existed since 800 years ago. For the first time, “Ibn Battuta” the famous Moroccan traveler mentioned about pigeon houses. Moreover, according to historians Tamerlane after knowing their functions, ordered to built such places buildings in his capital, Bukhara. In addition the famous French traveler, Sharden whom visited Iran during the 16th century, again mentioned about different pigeon houses in Iran, specially in Isfahan and Yazd. According to him there used to be about 30000 pigeon houses, now only about 700 of them remained. During the invasion of Afghans most of them were ruined, probably as a result of being used as shelters.

Pigeon house

Pigeon house

The architecture

Generally clay, brick or in some parts stucco are the main materials of these buildings. In fact, it can be said that there are three major plans:

1-Round plan: this sketch is more common in Isfahan.

2-Rectangular plan: this type of pigeon houses can be seen to the northwest of Isfahan, Golpaigan and khansar.

3-In Lanjan there are pigeon houses which their plan is the combination of different styles.

Pigeons can get to their nets through some passages which are such narrow that is impossible to other birds such as eagles or falcons to enter. At the bottoms there are some smooth parts of stucco works. These parts can avoid snakes to ascend. In some cases they put a bowl of milks at the center with limes around it. As snakes like milk, they try to get it but will stuck in the lime.

Pigeon house

Mardavij pigeon house

It is a special building, because it has a special sketch. In spite of other pigeon houses its plan is like a flower, 8 circles are around another one at the center. It was built during the 16th century with 18 meters height and 16 meters diameters. In this 3 levels buildings there are about 15000 nests and pigeons could enter through 12 vertical shafts. Actually, they are as narrow as the size of pigeons which other birds could not enter.

Pigeon house

In fact pigeon houses had a special purpose. Beside being a nest they were a place of gathering their dungs, like a warehouse. They produce about 70000 Kg dungs each year which seems to be a profitable job and sometimes the owner had to pay high taxes. In addition their dungs were used in lather manufactories or making gunpowder.

About the author

Hamid Noori is a local tourist guide in Iran. He borned in 1991 june 22end. First he studied industrial engineering at Shiraz university and worked in that field for a while but later he decided to pursue his dreams dealing with history. Now Hamid is a professional tourist guide.

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