Mashrabiya

Mashrabiya, Shanashil is the Arabic term given to a type of projecting oriel window enclosed with carved wood latticework located on the second storey of a building or higher, often lined with stained glass.

The mashrabiy (sometimes shanshool or rushan) is an element of traditional Arabic architecture used since the middle ages up to the mid twentieth century. It is mostly used on the street side of the building; however, it may also be used internally on sahn side.

Mashrabiyas were mostly used in houses and palaces although sometimes in public buildings such as hospitals, inns, schools and government buildings. They are found mostly in the mashriq – i.e. east of the Arab world, but some types of similar windows are also found in the maghrib (west of the Arab world). They are very prevalent in Iraq, the Levant, Hejaz and Egypt. They are mostly found in urban settings and rarely in rural areas.

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