You will get on pretty intimate terms with this word if you come to Egypt. :) Literally it means ‘never mind’ but it can mean ‘it’s not my fault!’ and ‘forget it lady, you’re not getting me to do that,’ and ‘today? is that even a word?’ and 'deal with it,' depending on the immediate context. It's one of those one-size-fits-all-disasters type of thingies. The best response is to smile, embrace the situation as an exercise in zen calm, and then go pour yourself a stiff one :)
in which the Arabs have a super rich tradition - both in terms of traditional and popular/alternative. Just a random and teeny tiny selection of indie alternative presented here
Also Massar Egbari (Mandatory Detour) and Mashrou' Leila (Project Leila) - two alternative bands from Egypt and Lebanon respectively.
- a type of latticework oriel window, which allows people inside the house to look out without being seen – a device for privacy in the women’s quarters. The latticework screens are made up of thousands of small pieces of turned wood slotted into each other without any nails. The skill required is immense, the results are invariably exquisite.
|Painting of Mashrabiya window by Dia Aziz Dia,|
a well-known Saudi artist. There are many
mashrabiyas in Old Jeddah.
Mashrabiya windows have been a special feature of Arab urban architecture, from medieval ages to the 20th century, particularly in the Hejaz, Iraq, Egypt and the Levant. The earliest appearance of mashrabiya windows can be dated to the 12th century in Basra.
View of courtyard and upper stories of Beit al Suheimy,
old Cairo. Mashrabiya windows present on upper floors only.
The name mashrabiya comes from the Arabic root word sh-r-b, which means to drink. Originally these beautiful screens were built to create a shaded nook where terracotta water pitchers could stand. The latticework meant that air could circulate freely around the pots and the combined effect of the shade and draught cooled the terracotta pitchers of water. Later they were widely used for windows as well.
|A place to cool drinking water. Mashrabiya screens illustrating|
original use and etymology of term. Beit al-Kritliya, Cairo.
Normally, mashrabiya windows are built first floor up, the ground floor windows being open wooden grills, like this
Window on ground floor. Old Cairo merchant
|Mashrabiya from a Mashrabiya. Wikala al Ghuri,|
first floor. Cairo.
|Detail of Mashrabiya panel. Beit al Suheimy, an old merchant |
residence from the Ottoman era. Cairo.
|Tightly worked Mashrabiya panel used for privacy in |
the women's quarters. Beit al Suheimy. Cairo.
There are several 18th/19th century residences in Cairo where these beautiful old handcrafted windows have been restored and can be viewed by the public. Here's a clip from an old James Bond film shot in one of them, Beit al-Kritliya (the Cretan lady’s house), where the mashrabiyas are also stars!
Sadly there are other houses, where the windows are falling to pieces. In Cairo, and elsewhere.
Nowadays, mashrabiyas are no longer used for their original purposes - modern style windows in glass or wood have replaced these handcrafted beauties. However, the work has been revived and is in demand as part of furniture, partitions, picture/mirror frames, even as wall-art on their own.
Artisan working on furniture with small inserts
of mashrabiya. Khan el Khalili. Cairo.
Do you know of any other well-known films shot in the Middle East? What impression did the setting leave on you? Do you think films have any influence on how our travel wishlist develops?
Posted for the A-Z Challenge 2017