Why roller shutters are an integral part of the Spanish street scene

by admin
roller shutters are commonplace in Spain

Visitors to Spain are often surprised to see all houses have Venetian or roller shutters and they are used regularly. It is almost impossible to find a house in Spain that does not have shutters on the windows. And even more so, most of the times these shutters are closed. This tradition sets Spain apart from many other European countries.

Of course, it has to do with the number of sunshine hours and the high temperatures in the summer months. But there is also a cultural aspect to it. Shutters, ‘persianas’ in Spanish, are so deeply rooted in Spain partly due to the fact many Arab customs have survived in Spanish architecture.

What happens behind closed doors stays behind closed doors

Despite the open and friendly nature of the Spaniards, they treasure some privacy in their own homes. This is why blinds, like curtains, play a fundamental role: to protect them from outside glances. ‘This idea contrasts even more with the Calvinist idea of Central European countries opening up their homes to show the honesty of their guests, their beautiful decoration and not be afraid to show whether you are poor or rich’.

‘What will people say?’

The concern to protect the interiors of homes in Spain could also be rooted in a Catholic religious culture. Inherent in that culture is the concern as to what others may say. It is essential to protect the household to avoid unwanted rumours.

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Noise reduction

Who lives in Spain knows it can be very noisy. Especially when living in urban areas. The dense structure of shutters can help dampen outdoor noise, making them ideal for homes in busy urban areas or near streets with heavy traffic. This noise reduction feature is particularly appreciated during siesta time and at night, ensuring a more peaceful and quiet indoor environment.

Saving through insulation

Finally, the shutters have an insulating function in the home that serves both in the summer months with the high temperatures and in the winter when the thermometers indicate falling temperatures. In fact, insulating the house with shutters is one of the most important recommendations for maintaining the optimal indoor temperature. This leads to savings on air conditioning and heating.

Historical background of the ‘persianas’

The concept of “persianas” is believed to have originated in the Middle East, particularly in Persia (modern-day Iran), which is how they got their name (“Persian” in Spanish is “persa”). The design allowed for ventilation and light control while also providing privacy and protection from the sun’s intense heat, which was essential in the hot, arid climates of the Middle East. The technology and design of “persianas” were introduced to Europe through Spain during the time of the Al-Andalus, when much of the Iberian Peninsula was under Islamic rule (from the 8th to the 15th century). The Moors brought with them a wealth of knowledge and cultural practices from the Middle East and North Africa, including architectural elements such as the “persianas.”

Evolution and spread

From Spain, the use of “persianas” spread to other parts of Europe, where they were adapted to local needs and preferences. The basic principle remained the same, but materials and designs evolved over time. In the Mediterranean region, “persianas” remained popular due to their effectiveness in controlling light and heat, essential features in sunny climates. Today, “persianas” are a common feature in Spanish homes and have various modern adaptations, including manual and motorized versions. They are made from different materials, such as wood, aluminum, and PVC, to suit different aesthetic tastes and functional requirements.

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