Cyprus reflections: houses and balconies

I continue blogging about my recent trip to Cyprus. I generally enjoy looking at buildings, although several of my friends are by far more knowledgeable about architecture. In Mediterranean countries I like taking pictures of shutters – I think this is a detail that really makes a difference (I found them even on apartment blocks in Metz!). Sometimes I would wander around the old neighborhood of Neve Tzedek in Tel Aviv just to compare various buildings with shutters. I also saw lots of nice shutters in Malta. Another feature that is shared between Cyprus and Malta is widespread use of closed balconies.

Here is my collection of windows in Cyprus. Our guide in South Nicosia says that the open balcony with metalwork is associated with colonial times, and the closed balcony is Ottoman heritage. I googled ′Ottoman balcony′ and found varying results. According to the CSer, who kindly volunteered to guide us, the closed balcony made sure women were not seen from the street in home attire. I wondered whether the same norm applied in Malta, where I thought the balconies were simply a heat management system.

Balconies of Cyprus [click on the image to enlarge it]

Balconies of Cyprus [click on the image to enlarge it]

Such balconies would actually look really good on apartment blocks in our region. Many people dislike rectangular, dim-colored balconies of Soviet apartment blocks. It is very common to create a closed space with glass windows and use it for storage. I wish these houses had partly rounded Ottoman-style balconies with nice shutters instead.

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