Window to the inner courtyard
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Arabian Windows

What is ‘window’? According to the Miriam-Webster dictionary, a definition of window is: “an opening especially in the wall of a building for admission of light and air that is usually closed by casements or sashes containing transparent material (as glass) and capable of being opened and shut”. And I believe this definition is a global definition, in every language. However, the interpretation and solution could be different depending on the location and culture.

As I live in Arabia, where the climate/weather dictates the design and architecture of the region, as well as the culture, like this one I encountered in Morocco, an interior solution to the window at the end of a stairwell:

Window arrangement from the interior

Window arrangement from the interior, Fez, Morocco

It is also to see what’s going on in the busy market on the outside:

Looking out from the window

Looking out from the window in Fez, Morocco

However, in the women’s quarter, where women can’t wear their veils and yet are still able to see outside, there’s this mashrabiya that works as a sun screen that protects the women from the harsh desert weather and so the men outside can’t see the unveiled women inside. A practice that is still part of the Arabian traditional architecture up to this date.

Series of window on an apartment building in Aleppo Syria before the civil war

Series of windows on an apartment building in Aleppo Syria before the civil war

When there's not enough money to restore the wooden mashrabiya over the window in Sana'a, Yemen

When there’s not enough money to restore the wooden mashrabiya/shutters over over a window in Sana’a, Yemen

Or maybe just leave as it is...

Or maybe just leave as it is…

 

9 Comments

  1. Thanks, Nin… Windows obviously tell us a lot about a culture. I often photograph windows, shutters and balconies, but this is the first time I have thought specifically about the functions of Arabian windows, particularly in relation to women. Good blog. –Curt

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  2. hani

    Very interesting – I like the rod iron – it has double purposes as protection and also artistic as a decoration. Kalau dikita tralis hampir semua sama apa lagi dikota, seperti kandang semuanya….hahaha

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