The birds of the air

The Colossal portal recently published a nice post with Caner Cangül’s photos and Kate Sierzputowski’s brief text about those Ottoman-era “bird houses” that were carved in the form of miniature mosques and palaces, and embedded in the façades of real mosques and palaces. A larger, better illustrated version of this article had been published on Caner Cangül’s own Istanbulium blogj, és and in general, the topic is abundantly present on Istanbul’s city blogs. The “sparrow palaces”, as folk mouth has called them, were raised mainly by religious inspiration, as a good act towards God’s creatures. However, they fit nicely in the love of animals of the people of Istanbul, who seldom have their own pets, but devotionally provide for the city’s public dogs and public cats, as we have just seen in Kedi – Cats of Istanbul.

In Europe, care for public birds has rather secular rooots, from titmouse feeding through stork wheels to Bird Day. That is why it is so interesting that in Seville, the Law of 19.9.1896 on the Protection of Birds was published with reference to the children’s fear of God, in the usual way of the period, in azulejo inserted in the wall.

“Children, do not deprive birds from their freedom, don’t torture them, neither destroy their nests. God rewards those children who protect birds, and the law prohibits hunting them, destroying their nests, and kidnapping their nestlings.”

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