I can’t believe that this time last year I was in Iran enjoying two weeks of fascinating culture and family experience. One of my favourite memories is the pigeon towers. Here’s a reminder.
Here in the UK, we often hear complaints from local councils about the damage and inconvenience that wild pigeons create. Many people feed these urban pests and the very acidic and vast amounts of pigeon poo corrodes stonework of buildings, clutters drains and guttering and can make smooth pavements into veritable ice-rinks. The food left uneaten also encourages mice and rats, and dead pigeons can contaminate water supplies. So, what do the Iranians, and particularly those living around Esfahan, do about their pigeons?
They build Pigeon Towers.
There are many, many such towers in and around the Esfahan area and all are individually designed and architectually unique. Unlike the UK, pigeons are revered in Iran and are a sign of good luck so these pigeon-palaces are considered well deserved. I was lucky enough to see inside one of these towers which just happened to be undergoing some internal maintenance when we arrived.
The main purpose of these towers is to encourage pigeons to nest in the honeycombed interior, where each bird has their own “pad”, about the same size as a small shoe box. Not wanting to soil their living area, the pigeons then poo on the protruding lip of their nest, and the tower-keeper can then easily brush all the poo to the floor, sweep it up and use it as fertiliser for locally grown crops.
The Esfahan area is well-known for its melon and cucumber yields, and I can say from experience that they are deliciously sweet, crisp and full of flavour.
Power to Pigeon-Poo!