In today’s world, human affection for animals is almost often restricted to formal posts on social media. People are becoming more vocal about the necessity of providing for our younger siblings and protecting them. The best that can happen is that someone will place a feeder. At the same time, since ancient times, people all across the Islamic world have shown their love for animals by providing them with loving and attentive care.
In the long-ago days of the Ottoman Empire, not only sultans but common birds enjoyed residing in palaces alongside the royal family. Not just boring birdhouses but also lavish, albeit scaled-down versions of castles were constructed for housing birds.
Unusual architectural element
The Ottomans had various practices and customs for shelters for stray animals and birds. Even in some respects, they were comparable to the veterinary hospitals of the modern day. The so-called bird palaces were the most vivid embodiment of elevated feelings that could be seen. Magnificent architectural works, the likes of which may be admired for their aesthetic value on the streets of Istanbul today, were used as an expression of compassion and mercy toward our younger brothers. Not only does an indescribable grace and such nuanced art exhibit a love for animals, but it also demonstrates a superb taste in architecture design.
The love of birds, shown in the construction of these luxurious and highly detailed tiny mansions for them, enables us to determine the scope of this practice today. Complex architectural works were frequently included in very important structures for the state, such as mosques, educational institutions, libraries, and hotels. They also enjoyed decorating the fountains and bridges across the city. On the land that is now Turkey, several birdhouses date back to bygone eras that can be found. The one on the Buyukcekmece Bridge in Istanbul is the oldest of the three. Its history may be traced back to the start of the 16th century.
Not just houses
In addition to their usefulness, bird palaces also bore significant religious connotations. People believed that those who built these kinds of houses would be blessed with happiness. At various points in history, people referred to them by various names, including the bird’s palace, the dovecote, and the sparrow’s palace. These architectural works have always been marked by a unique elegance and incredible attention to detail.
Brick, tile, stone, and mortar were typically used to construct these great architectural buildings. In addition to that, there were similar items made of wood. To put it more bluntly, who cares what? The fragility and precarity of the house made it clear that the tree should be avoided at all costs. In addition to that, there was the possibility of a fire. Bird palaces made of wood have not been found to exist in modern times for this reason.
Unfortunately, by the 19th century, such a great custom had vanished. Inexplicably. Either people’s enthusiasm for birdwatching has diminished, or they no longer regard the blessings bestowed by God on those who do so as hugely important. It is irrelevant to the main point as to why they did it. These beautiful bird castles must continue to provide a safe habitat for birds well into the future. They add an astonishing amount of decoration to the dull grey walls of the structures. People can see, among other things, that their love for animals can be expressed in ways other just words when they visit little palaces.