Explore Saudi Arabia: Pigeon Tower

May 10th 2023 in Explore
Explore Saudi Arabia: Pigeon Tower

Pigeon Tower



Ad Dilam, Saudi Arabia


A mediaeval structure was used to hold pigeons, which farmers used to help fertilise farmland. 


Pigeon Towers can be found all over the Middle East in different sizes and shapes, and they have been used since the Middle Ages, perhaps even earlier. These towers are not just for show; they provide farmers with valuable fertiliser, although this is rare now. They were built using mud and logs, and their unique architecture is a sight. The design of each tower is adapted to the region's specific geography and weather conditions, resulting in various methods.


In Ad Dilam, 14 pigeon towers have limited entry and exit points for birds. The towers' interior is filled with compartments where pigeons can rest, breed, and take cover during sandstorms or hot weather. Wooden beams are present to strengthen the structure and provide more space for birds to perch.


The region near Ad Dilam's Pigeon Tower is dry and unwelcoming. With the groundwater reserves, people can live there. However, more than water alone is needed for farming due to the lack of nutrients in the soil.


Farmers who relied on pigeon guano to make a living must have greatly appreciated the phosphorus and nitrogen it provided. However, surprisingly, these towers are primarily empty as of 2022. Upon closer inspection, it is evident that cartridges are strewn about the ground near the towers. Whether this is a result of mass culling or a cruel pastime is still being determined. Nonetheless, it is unfortunate that these impressive towers are not being utilised to their full potential.

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