Pigeon Tower

Around Yazd

Despite first impressions, this beautifully restored tower was not military in purpose but dedicated to something altogether more prosaic: it is a pigeon house, a giant roost for the collection of guano. Used for fertiliser, the guano was a precious commodity before the introduction of chemical equivalents, so the more pigeons that could be induced to take up residence the better. This particular example, with its fine brick work, is around 200 years old and provided nesting space for 4000 birds.

On the roof, a giant bowl of water was designed to attract the birds to the tower and the entry holes restricted to prevent bigger birds muscling in on the lodgings. The smooth plaster finish of the tower made it impossible for snakes to slither up the outside, while the stone base prevented rats from burrowing up from the ground. For those with an eye for an interesting photograph, the scrubbed interior with its pattern of light and shadow is like a giant contemporary installation.

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