Adding to the endless rustic beauties of Meybod, Yazd, the Pigeon Tower (dovecote), kabutar khaneh in Persian, is a splendid functioning structure left over from the Qajar Dynasty, for all tourists and travelers to see.
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.
The building of the kabutar khaneh (translating to ‘pigeon house’) has a very calculated design. The architect has managed to cram-in a plethora of functionalities alongside beautiful aesthetics. The architecture of the dovecote is very artistic, as well as practical.
Standing 3 stories tall, the castle-turret shaped structure features uniquely beautiful brick and plasterwork all the while providing 4,000 spots for pigeons.
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 thick adobe crust consists of six interior chambers with a tiny entrance on the west side and two flights of stairs.
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.
On top of all that, the architect knew that startled pigeons all fly away at once, and so even took the vibrations caused by their simultaneous flapping into consideration!
The floor established in the center of the tower, alongside the arches connecting the balconies act as a reinforcement for the tower structure. This way, the vibrations are dispersed evenly among the entire building.
During the summers, a light breeze flows inside and maintains a cool temperature while during winter; the interior remains relatively warmer than the outside environment.
Although there are over 3,000 pigeon towers in Isfahan, and many more in Iran, but the Pigeon Tower of Meybod is definitely the most exquisite of them all. Unique stucco designs of the interior host a phenomenal play of light on the interior of the tower, making it a super-hot spot for all the photography junkies!