Local architecture is music for the eyes Print E-mail
Article Index
Local architecture is music for the eyes
Building through the ages
Back to the basics
The courtyard in the middle
Cooling the house
Entrance and windows
Majlis and harim
Importance of family
Survival of the fittest
Old houses of Muharraq

Importance of the family

The family is very important to the Arab people. Usually the whole family - parents, children, their spouses, their children, etc - lived in the same house sharing all the rooms, with the bedrooms as their only private, personal spaces. And if not in the same house, the children would still live in the house next door.

A typical Arabic household was really a small, self-sufficient community, well suited to manage in the harsh environment.

The streets

A typical feature of the old towns was the narrow winding alleys, in comparison to the modern, six-lane highways running through the cities in the Gulf.

Those towns were made for pedestrians with no parking problems and traffic jams - just drive through the old souk in Muharraq and try to find a parking place and you'll get the idea.

However, the main reason for the buildings to be built so close to each other was that then they provided much more shadow to the streets in between, thus easing the oppressive heat.

So you can see, the cities of yesterday were built in total harmony with the surrounding environment and the requirements of Islamic culture.