The Pigeon Towers of Iran

Oι  περίτεχνοι περιστερώνες της Περσίας!

 

 

During the 16th and 17th century, particularly around the time of the Safavid reign, the Iranian folks built a large number of towers to house pigeons. The pigeons were domesticated not for their meat (pigeon is especially revered in Islam), but rather for their droppings, which the locals collected and used to fertilize melon and cucumber fields.

Κατά τη διάρκεια του 16ου και 17ου αιώνα, κυρίως στα χρόνια της βασιλείας των Σαφαβιδών στην Περσία, ο λαός έχτισε έναν μεγάλο αριθμό πύργων για περιστέρια, τα οποία εξημέρωναν όχι τόσο για το κρέας τους όσο για τα περιττώματά τους, που τα χρησιμοποιούσαν για να λιπάνουν τις καλλιέργειες πεπονιών και αγγουριών.

The Safavids had a particular liking for melons and consumed them in staggering numbers. Pigeon dung was thought to be the best manure for these crops, and the towers were built for the purpose of attracting pigeons to them so that they would nest in the towers and their dung could be harvested.

Οι Σαφαβίδες είχαν μια ιδιαίτερη συμπάθεια στα πεπόνια και η κοπριά των περιστεριών ήταν ιδανική για την ευδοκίμησή τους. Οι περιστερώνες κατασκευάστηκαν με σκοπό την προσέλκυση των περιστεριών που φώλιαζαν στους πύργους και οι ντόπιοι συνέλεγαν ευκολότερα την κοπριά τους.
Built with brick and overlaid with plaster and lime, these towers were some of the finest dovecots in any part of the world. At its peak, Isfahan had an estimated 3,000 pigeon towers. Today, around 300 remain scattered throughout the countryside in various states of disrepair. Modern fertilizers and chemicals have rendered these magnificent structures obsolete leading to their abandonment in the fields, where they continue to deteriorate due to lack of maintenance.

 

3.000 περιστερώνες δημιουργήθηκαν από τους οποίους μόλις 300 σώζονται σήμερα διάσπαρτοι σε όλη την ύπαιθρο. Οι τοίχοι έχουν πολλές “φωλίτσες” αλλά και συγκεκριμένη κλίση έτσι ώστε τα περιττώματα να πέφτουν σε συγκεκριμένο χώρο, να συλλέγονται και να αποξηραίνονται.

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The inside of a pigeon tower, looking from the bottom towards the ceiling. The walls are lined with hundreds of pigeonholes. Photo credit

The typical pigeon tower is cylindrical and constructed of unfired mud brick, lime plaster and gypsum. The towers range from 10 to 22 meters in diameter and stand 18 or more meters high, and could house up to 14,000 pigeons. Because many animals prey on pigeons, the towers were constructed as impenetrable fortresses that could shelter the pigeons from predators. The small size of the entrances prohibits large birds such as hawks, owls or crows from entering inside.

Επιπλέον οι περιστερώνες δημιουργήθηκαν με τέτοιο τρόπο ώστε να προστατεύονται τα περιστέρια από τα αρπακτικά ζώα. Το μικρό μέγεθος των εισόδων απαγορεύει στα μεγάλα πουλιά, όπως γεράκια, κουκουβάγιες ή κοράκια να εισέλθουν στο εσωτερικό.

 

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Photo credit: Arthur Thevenart / Corbis

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Sources: Saudi Aramco World / Historical Iran / Isfahan.org.uk / Canadian Center of Science and Education

https://www.amusingplanet.com/2014/11/the-pigeon-towers-of-iran.html

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