|Outside in to a Cartajima window|
When visiting Andalucia, you might be forgiven for assuming that crime rates are high given the fact that every accessible window is protected by more or less ornate, sturdy, wrought iron bars. But crime - at least up here in the mountain villages, I can't speak for the big cities - is non-existent. The sun is warm, the beer is cold, why bother?
No, the bars are not to keep robbers out but the women in! The simple bars prevent any physical contact except the stroking of fingers through the bars which create a few centimetres of No Man's land between the public and the private spaces. Under these circumstances, courting has to be carried out verbally. What a good idea! Appeal to my intellect!
|Inside out from the snug at Los Castanos|
This is all in the past now. Young Spanish women come and go as they please as in most of the enlightened world. But the bars have become a feature of the architecture of the south and no window looks complete without them. When designing and building Los Castaños, I considered rejas de rigueur and they are convenient for framing another form of beauty.
PS When writing this little piece, I became interested in whether the women of Al-Andalus (Islamic Spain 711-1492) were veiled and discovered that there is no concrete evidence one way or the other as the invading Christian armies destroyed records and books of the conquered culture. I found one poetic reference to "...their faces beautiful as moons, behind veils of gold cloth" and other inferences that veiling was for the upper echelons of society. Even so, the veils were not black - but GOLD! Go, Spain!!
PPS an interesting site I found is Islamic Spain - a fount of knowledge of the period.