While they are historically associated with the desert climates of Iran, where they are known as bâdgir, they can function almost anywhere—the only requirement is a temperature difference between the interior of a building and the air outside.
Windcatchers often have very distinct profiles, with a commensurate effect on the local skyline. In fact, several cities are well known for their wind towers. The Iranian city of Yazd, for instance, features the mosque of Dowlat Abad, with a distinctive central windcatcher, and a large domed cistern with its own four towers. Done well, a windcatcher can look more like a vaguely Baroque piece of fluted ornamentation than a mere functionalist chimney tacked on with no sense of design.