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Unveiling the Enigmatic Windcatchers (Badgirs) in Iranian Architecture: A Fascinating Insight

Unveiling the Enigmatic Windcatchers (Badgirs) in Iranian Architecture: A Fascinating Insight

Windcatchers or Badgirs in Iran are a must-see for tourists due to their impressive engineering and architecture. These structures were created to catch and circulate cool air and are essential to Iranian homes and buildings. Windcatchers are not only functional but also beautiful, with intricate designs that reflect the country's cultural heritage. Tourists can explore these structures in cities like Yazd and Isfahan, where they are still in use. Witnessing wind catchers in action showcases the genius of ancient Iranian technology and is a unique experience not to be missed.

October 15, 2020

Windcatchers or Badgirs in Iran 

Windcatchers or Badgirs in Iran are a wonder of engineering and architecture that foreign tourists should not miss. These traditional structures were designed to catch and circulate cool air, making them an essential feature of Iranian homes and buildings. The windcatchers are not only functional but also beautiful, with intricate designs and patterns that reflect the country's rich cultural heritage. Visitors can explore these structures in cities like Yazd, Isfahan, and Hormozgan Province where they are still in use today. Seeing the windcatchers in action is a unique experience that showcases the genius of ancient Iranian technology. Don't miss out on this fascinating aspect of Iranian culture during your travels.


Badgir or windcatcher is the manifestation of ancient engineering

windcatchers, manifestations of ancient engineering

What are the windcatchers?

Besides the turquoise domes and the genius system of Qanat (water wells), Badgir is another token of Iranian architecture. Windcatchers (Badgirs) are towers constructed on the top of houses, Ab Anbar (water reservoirs), and mines for sending fresh air to the lower floors and basements to speed-up the air conditioning process before the invention of air conditioners. People also used to keep their corruptible food under the wind catchers before refrigerators were invented.

We don’t exactly know when and in which city of Iran constructing windcatchers was started, but Iranians first came up with this genius idea many years ago and sent it to other countries in the Middle East and Africa. Windcatchers are still practical in desert cities in central Iran like Yazd, Kashan, and Kerman, and southern cities and Islands with tropical climates like Bandar Abbas, Qeshm Island, and Bushehr.

Windcatcher (Badgir) - Iran

Windcatcher (Badgir) - Iran

Construction of windcatchers

Although the method of building a windcatcher varies in different cities of Iran, they usually have a square plan with holes in the walls and are made with adobes. Inside the windcatchers were divided into different sections with a septum and X shaped boards. Traditional architects build windcatchers on the roof of houses, on the top of small rooms which are assigned to the windcatchers. Considering the direction of the wind in each city Badgirs are made with windows on one side, four sides, or eight sides. For example, all of the wind catchers in the city of Yazd have eight windows, while the ones in Meybod which is a city 50 kilometers away from Yazd have only one window, which is back to the dusty and hot desert winds blowing in this city. The windcatchers also function as chimneys for the houses and help the warm and dusty weather to ascent up and exit the house, so that fresh air gets circulated in the room.

The exterior of the windcatchers are usually ornamented with decorative elements of the area like stucco works, brickworks, and tile works and double the beauty of these traditional towers.

A windcatcher in Yazd

A windcatcher in Yazd

The windcatcher consists of a tall, narrow tower with openings at the top, which are angled in such a way as to catch the prevailing winds. As the wind flows into the tower, it creates a pressure difference that draws air up from inside the building and out through the windcatcher, creating a natural draft.

The interior of the windcatcher is often lined with moistened materials, such as straw or cloth, which help to cool the air as it passes through. This can provide a significant reduction in temperature, especially in hot and dry climates.


 windcatchers or badgirs are the elements of beauty and engineering in Iran windcatchers elements of beauty and engineering in Iran


Yazd, the city of windcatchers

Located close to the Spice and Silk Road, the beautiful city of Yazd is known for its historical district which is inscribed as a World Heritage by UNESCO and consists of earthen houses, narrow lanes covered with arcs, and windcatchers. The 33.8-meter-high windcatcher located on the top of the pavilion inside the Dowlat Abad Garden of Yazd is the loftiest in the world. Since this city has always had an arid climate with a very little rainfall, the residents came up with new solutions to struggle with the heat and drought, and today their developments like Qanat, Badgirs, high earthen walls and narrow lanes which make shadows, are the reason why this city has become a top travel destination in the world and one of the cities which is included in almost every Iran trip itinerary.

So while you are in Iran, do not forget to spend a couple of days in Yazd to enjoy its wonderful beauties and learn about the secrets of its traditional architecture and windcatchers.

Travelers visiting Yazd

Travelers visiting Yazd


In conclusion, the windcatchers, or Badgirs, of Iran stand as a testament to the ingenuity and resilience of the Iranian people throughout history. These remarkable structures not only serve as architectural marvels but also as functional solutions to combat the scorching desert heat and create a unique system of natural air conditioning. From the bustling streets of Yazd to the serene oasis of Kashan, these windcatchers are a living embodiment of Iran's rich cultural heritage.

As travelers explore the cities where these windcatchers still grace the skyline, they are not only treated to a visual feast of intricate designs but also to a profound connection with the past. The windcatchers offer a glimpse into the ancient wisdom of Iranians, who harnessed the power of the wind to create comfortable living spaces long before the advent of modern technology.

Visiting these iconic structures is an opportunity to immerse oneself in the heart of Iranian culture and history. It's a chance to appreciate the resourcefulness of a people who, in the face of harsh climatic challenges, devised elegant and effective solutions. So, when you embark on your journey through Iran, make sure not to miss out on the wonder of windcatchers, a true marvel of engineering, architecture, and a living legacy of Iranian innovation.


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