January 24, 2021

Ottoman-era Birdhouses in Turkey Resemble Palaces in Miniature

Photo: Caner Cangül

Ottoman architecture is quite known around the world, but early in the 15th and 16th centuries, it had an important element that made it more distinguished. The addition of birdhouses was very common at the time. They were affixed to the outer walls of significant city structures, a safe space for regular avian guests to nest outside of mosques, inns, bridges, libraries, schools, and fountains.

The birdhouses were not simple concrete structures, but rather elaborate feats of miniature architecture that ranged from one-story homes to multiple-story bird mansions. Each was designed with a similar design aesthetic to the country’s larger buildings, simultaneously providing shelter to sparrows, swallows, and pigeons while preventing bird droppings from corroding the walls of the surrounding architecture. Some of these amazing homes even included water troughs or “runways” fit for takeoffs and landings.

Beyond the architecture, the stunning birdhouses speak to the overall attitude that the Ottoman Turks had towards animals. Structures built between the 15th and 19th centuries were designed with care and protection of creatures in mind. These birdhouses were known by their nicknames “kuş köşkü” (bird pavilions) and “serçe saray” (sparrow palace)

Back in that time, you could see birdhouses nearly everywhere in Turkish cities, unfortunately now there are only a few relatively small selections that still remains. The oldest example is a 16th-century iteration that’s attached to Istanbul’s  Büyükçekmece Bridge.

Photo: Caner Cangül

Photo: Caner Cangül

Photo: Caner Cangül

Photo: Caner Cangül

Photo: Travelmind

Photo: Caner Cangül


Photo: Travelmind

h/t: [Colossal]