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Islamic architectural element / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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A mashrabiya or mashrabiyya (Arabic: مشربية) is an architectural element which is characteristic of traditional architecture in the Islamic world and beyond.[1][2] It is a type of projecting oriel window enclosed with carved wood latticework located on the upper floors of a building, sometimes enhanced with stained glass. It was traditionally used to catch wind and for passive cooling. Jars and basins of water could be placed in it to cause evaporative cooling.[3]:Ch. 6 It is most commonly used on the street side of the building; however, it may also be used internally on the sahn (courtyard) side.[4] The term mashrabiya is sometimes used of similar lattices elsewhere, for instance in a takhtabush.[3]:Ch. 6

A mashrabiya in Tunisia

It has been used since the Middle Ages, reached a peak during the Ottoman period, but fell into decline in the late 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. However, interest in sustainable architecture has contributed to a revival of the mashrabiya and other elements of vernacular architecture.