Bird houses integrated with buildings in Ottoman Architecture

Animal life was always integrated with human life as it is today. We have our pets within our daily life and take any opportunity to share time with them. The type of pet can change on our desire and has many varieties today compared with the past. Depending on the pet we keep them with us in our houses or have them outside near to our living area.

Birds have always been an attracting animal which inspired the human being in many ways. We were always jealous about them and desired to be able to fly like they do. Freedom is the key word for this animal. Being free like a bird and fly anywhere like they do was and is the desire of the mankind.

We keep birds within our living areas and create a different kind of relations with them. As this is the fact we took always them in to account when we were manufacturing our houses. In Ottoman times birds have different position and played significant rolls within the history. Therefore, the Ottoman Architecture considered the birds while building the houses, mosques, inns, fountains, bridges, schools, monuments and gave them also a place to live.

The birdhouses are not simple structures, but rather designed and constructed as a miniature architecture that changed from one single homes to multiple flat bird mansions. Each birdhouse is designed with a similar design the main building, so that they became one story and one design. At the same time it was considered and calculated providing shelter to sparrows, swallows, and pigeons while preventing bird droppings from corroding the walls of the surrounding architecture.

In addition to providing shelter for the birds, the birdhouses fulfilled a religious vision. They were thought to grant good deeds to those that built the miniature homes. Through their prosperity and care, the structures encouraged a relationship and created love to animals in Turkish public life, with time people gave several nicknames for the homes over the centuries like “kuş köşkü” (bird pavilions), “güvercinlik” (dovecots) and “serçe saray” (sparrow palace).

The birdhouses remain today and with a focused eye to the old buildings you can see how the bird life is still going on. With time it became a tradition and this kind of miniature structure can be seen nearly in every city on old Ottoman buildings. The oldest example of bird homes, is dated to the 16th century attached on the Büyükçekmece Bridge in Istanbul.

#animals #birds #ottomanarchitecture #miniaturehouses #tradition #turkey #istanbul

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