Perched on rooftops across Cairo, like water tanks on elevated platforms, are rickety wooden cages where Cairenes keep their pigeons.
Pigeon keeping is a tradition that is older than Ancient Egypt. For thousands of years Egyptians have reared pigeons both for sport and for food. References to pigeon husbandry can be found in hieroglyphics and Mesopotamian cuneiform tablets from more than 5,000 years ago. Unlike in the US, where pigeons are considered little more than rats with wings, pigeon meat is highly prized for their moist, dark tenderness in much of the rest of the world.
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A pigeon tower in Cairo. Image credit: Egyptian Studio/Shutterstock.com