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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Traditional Saudi Arabian houses

Paintings are very interesting from a cultural perspective is it present almost in each arabic house.
There are three main architectural styles on the Arabic peninsula: western, central, and southern.
On the western coast, the climate is hot and humid, and the houses are built to maximise the movement of the air through the rooms. The windows are built to catch the wind, there are often straight lines through the house, and the ceilings have ventilation openings to let the rising warm air out.

In the central parts and towards the east, the climate is hot and dry, but the temperature changes between the day and night are big, so the houses and streets are built to provide the maximin shadow while they accumulate warmth or cold.
The thick mud walls cool down during the night, so the houses are pleasantly cool during the day hours, and towards the evening people move out to courtyards. Then, when the cold night air forces them to go inside, the house is nice and warm until the morning hours.

The third style is found in the south, on the high altitudes, where it is cooler and where it rains more.

In a short a fast detailed - from the street, one enters the house through an elaborate doorway and steps into an entrance hall known as a dihliz.
The ground or entrance floor is reserved for men, and one never risks meeting an unveiled woman there.
The upper floors belong to the women, and a visitor cannot go upstairs without an escort.
The entrance hall floor is covered with sand or a kind of mortar called tubtab.
On one or both sides of the entrance hall are raised benches where the master of the house sits and receives casual visitors, drinks tea with them and smokes his water pipe, or shishah.
On either side of the entrance hall - sometimes on both sides - and raised above floor level, is an important sifting room called the maq'ad, which serves as a business office, or reception room for intimate friends.
It may also function as a sleeping room during hot summer afternoons, or as a storeroom for merchandise or luggage during the pilgrimage season.
Even in the most modest of houses, social activities play an important role; therefore the maq’ad is usually spacious, high-ceilinged and well-decorated. In older, wealthier houses, the maq’ad is replaced by an even more luxurious room known as the diwan, with carpets on the floor and cushions for sitting or reclining along the walls, where the men meet for receptions, take their dinner and talk business.

The advantage in beeing arab is that most arabian houses still retain the old character, in combining the old fashioned nature with the modern and luxury.


malizea said...

whaw!! those houses are just amazing!! very beautiful! I like those posts!!

Sara said...

when I went to Sharm el Sheik in Egypt the Hotel interior was arabian style. really nice Lanterns, arched walls, silk bed covers, and gorgeous pink flowers. It was sooooooooooo gorgeous I LOVED IT.

giel said...

it's my first time found this nice blog...!

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