Castles for birds
Sometimes photographs capture things you didn’t know existed, small details in a landscape or on a building that you missed when you were too busy looking through the viewfinder for the perfect composition. This happened to me when I went to dig up some old photos from Istanbul to edit. And there it was; something I had never heard of and never took any notice of on my visit to the grand old city; birdhouses on buildings! Now, normally I suppose birdhouses are not unusual in any sort of way, but I’m used to seeing them in trees or in the garden, not 60 meters up on the side of a mosque. And are they not usually made of wood?
The cute shelter built for some winged friends on the side of the holiest of buildings, was sculpted completely out of stone. It appears to be made of the same stone the building itself was erected in, but probably not carved from one of the blocks put in the building, although that is difficult to see without a good close up image (which I unfortunately did not get as I apparently didn’t see the house in the first place – a real shame!!).
The birdhouses, or mansions as they are sometimes called, are an architectural heritage from Ottoman times. They are featured on several mosques and other buildings around the city, and can also be found elsewhere in Turkey, around the Balkans and the Middle East. The only one that managed to get stuck on my memory card, however, is this one below photographed at Laleli Mosque – or the Tulip mosque. Adding the detailed bird houses to the facades of mosques, temples and private houses have some religious meaning, as the birds are said to roam the skylines praying and whispering the name of God [Allah], and perhaps to be considered holy for that reason. Whatever the purpose, they are lovely, intricate and mysterious.
If you want to see some more castles for birds, take a look at this photographers lovely pics: Bird Palace, Ayazma Mosque