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Explore the Pigeon Towers of Istafan Iran

Published by Marjorie Jane M. Asis, Writer

Country: Iran, Islamic Republic of

The Experience

Iran holds a lot of special secrets for tourists, and one of them is the Pigeon Towers of Isfahan. This eccentric architecture, important during the 16th and 17th century, is a great example of Persian culture working with nature for a mutual gain. Today around 300 remain scattered throughout the countryside in various states repair.

Several dovecotes (pigeon towers for pigeon to nest) generally date towards the Safavid reign, and dot the grounds around Isfahan (Esfahan). The distinctive architectural design of the Pigeon Towers of Isfahan played a significant role, considerably similar to the qanats, or subterranean canal system, in preserving the hinterland that granted an urban centre in Isfahan. The turrets were constructed with the intention of collecting pigeon dung, and were a substantial local revenue source in addition to the frequently embellished plaster.

The cylindrical Pigeon Towers of Isfahan are made of brick, gypsum, and lime plaster, and range between 15 and 25 metres in diameter, with heights of more than 20 metres. Topped crevices and domes allow entry to honeycombed interiors, and each pigeon tower can cater to a large number of the Persian wild pigeons. Pigeons are still eaten in many parts of Western Europe, and their dung is used as manure, as well as to soften leather in Isfahan's famed tanneries.

The construction the Pigeon Towers of Isfahan was commissioned by officials during the flourishing Safavid period. The Pigeon Towers of Isfahan allowed pigeons, and many other type of birds, to dwell in these towers so that local residents could collect their droppings and fertilize the soil for farming. This method continued for thousands of years.

Some of the original Isfahan towers have already joined the earth in which they stood for thousands of years, and only a few of them are left standing. This is the reason why the Iranian Government, with the help of the Isfahan locals, built bigger and sturdier pigeon towers for the same old purpose, as well as to enhance tourism.

The Middle East is often a place for tourists to taste the rarest spices around. It is even called “The Food Mecca,” which many people would surely agree with. If you walk along the Isfahan streets, you would definitely feel hungry with all the aromas going on, so it's more then worthwhile to visit Isfahan to taste the food of the region.




When to Go to Pigeon Towers

Iran features dry weather characterized by short, cool winters and hot, dry summers. The weather conditions are affected by Iran's location, involving the subtropical aridity from the Arabian desert along with the subtropical humidity from the eastern Mediterranean.

Around 70 percent of the typical rainfall in Iran comes from November until March. January is definitely the coolest month, with temperature ranges from 5°C to 10°C, so this could be the best time to visit Iran. Just check the weather forecast beforehand because rainfall differs from year to year.

While the month of August is considered the hottest month at 20°C to 30°C, or more, June until August tends to be rainless. Thus, if you are from a tropical or cold country, you might as well avoid the region’s summer season from the months of June to September where humidity in the area is very uncomfortable.

Odds n' Ends

Isfahan’s hotels and inns are managed by the locals, and are literally everywhere along the main streets of Isfahan with room rates ranging from $15 to $25 each night per person. A set meal will only cost you a few dollars.

Touring Isfahan and its towns is never a problem as buses are rampant even in seaports and airports. These buses usually take a group of ten or more, and the tour guides and bus drivers are prepared to show you the list of hotels and restaurants in which they are affiliated.

Cotton, lightweight clothing is suggested during summertime, while wearing a sweater for cooler nights is advisable. Moreover, if you tend to travel a lot in Iran, you may want to consider bringing an abaya (a piece of cloth to cover your head) to show respect.


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Language Guides

Turkish is one of the languages spoken in Iran, Islamic Republic of. If you know of a freely available phrase book or podcast for one of the missing languages, let us know!


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