Designed to provide shelter for wild pigeons in order for their dung to be collected as crop fertilizers and leather softeners the pigeon towers of Isfahan in Iran offered an important resource. These towers were built in abundance during the Safavid period from 1501 – 1736, and often rose to 20 meters in height. The larger towers were able to house in excess of 10,000 pigeons.
High levels of wind driven ventilation along with thick adobe outer walls reduced the amount of temperature fluctuations, keeping the internal surface temperature relatively low.
The pigeon towers of Isfahan were often circular or rectangular in plan. The walls of the towers were internally buttressed enabling them to be freestanding structures as the buttresses provide structural stability. However, these types of tower were also often integrated within the outer walls of gardens. The towers comprised of either multiple internal walls or compartments or a single void space. The multiple-compartment structures had a much higher capacity than the single-compartment ones, allowing therefore for a higher yield of pigeon dung to be harvested annually. Access for the pigeons to the inside of the building was provided via brick turrets situated at the top of the tower. The honeycomb formation of the brickwork allowed large enough gaps to be created for the pigeons to pass through.
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