How do the Nubian houses charm their visitors?

In recent years, the Nubian houses in the Nubian towns and islands in the Aswan governorate have become a stand-alone tourist destination and one of the internal and external tourist attractions in the far south of Egypt, which in turn has contributed to the elimination of unemployment rates among the local population, where many tourists enjoy spending a good time. Under the domes of the traditional Nubian houses with bright colors, decorations and beautiful inscriptions that make us feel like paintings made by talented artists, and they take souvenir photos of them and in them.

Inmates of Nubian houses enjoy watching the Nile crocodiles raised in cages by the Nubians within the customs and traditions they inherited from the ancestors. Some of these houses have artistic teams to present old Nubian heritage songs and Nubian folklore, and tourists can also buy handicrafts made. by local residents from natural raw materials.

Domes that make fans and air conditioners

It is difficult to mistake the eye for the distinctive architectural style of Nubian architecture, whether it relates to the shapes of houses or administrative facilities, and even the style of construction of tombs, as Nubian architecture is known for its decorations and ornaments that the Nubian heritage and folklore, and his ideas are inspired by nature and the surrounding environment.

In architecture, the Nubians benefited from the elements of the environment around them, such as flowers, flags, palms, stars, crescents, ornaments of Chinese dishes and animal models.

In general, the Nubian houses are built of mud bricks made from unburnt mud. The building consists of only one floor, its walls are high and its surface is covered with domes specifically designed with the aim of dispersing the sun’s heat so that it is not placed vertically on the roof of the house and transfers all the heat to the inside of the house.

The roof of the house is usually designed in the shape of a hollow dome from inside the Nubian house, and the roof of each room is covered by a dome that stretches the length of the room, and inside the dome cavity there are four openings , two of which are at the beginning of the room, and two others at the end of the room to renew the air in it so that there is no need to put fans or air conditioners in it Despite the intense heat in Nubia, outside the houses, where the openings of the domes are designed in such a way that it constantly renews the air. As for the space between the rooms, the ceilings are covered with a trellis made of palm leaves to block the sun’s rays from the courtyard of the Nubian house.

Pharaonic, Coptic and Islamic symbols

The traditional Nubian house consists of a building that does not exceed one floor, and it usually consists of about 4 rooms other than the diwan, and these include: the entrance, the courtyard or the heavenly court, the bedrooms or the cellars, the storage room, the kitchen or the cocks, and they call it a fire shower, the toilet, the Mazira, the men’s room or The hostess, which is far from the “Harem” suite, as it is intended only for to receive male guests. Usually the process of building the house with the efforts of parents and neighbors; All the young men and women of the family and the village participate in the construction of the house, and in the past the building processes were accompanied by inherited Nubian rituals that differed from region to region.

In architecture, the Nubians benefited from the elements of the surrounding environment, such as flowers, flags, palms, stars, crescents, Chinese dish decorations and animal figures such as crocodile, cat, owl, crow, lion and scorpions. Islamic civilization is also evident, such as the Nile, the palms, the crescent moon, the Kaaba, the jug and the great triangle.

Some of the Nubian houses combine in their architecture the Pharaonic, Coptic and Islamic models, which merge in great harmony, and are decorated with brightly colored drawings, and some of their walls are inlaid with beautiful precious stones, inside and out.

Walls and ceilings that repel heat and sunlight

The design of the Nubian houses varies according to the nature of the climate in the island or the town, where we find some houses covered by domes due to their presence in areas with hot and dry weather, while those houses around the course of the Nile River are distinguished by having their roofs pitched to a great height and covered by leaves, and their walls made of mud or clay bricks, often painted white to limit sunlight, and decorated with Nubian drawings and inscriptions.

The covering of the roofs of Nubian houses is called “doxyd”, and it is made of palm leaves, then covered with palm leaves, and covered with a layer of clay mixed with straw for several days. The palm trees are over the leaves to block the openings, before fermented clay is placed on top of them. These roofs work to shade the houses and lower the temperature inside them, so that it is lower than it is in the houses whose roofs made of cement.

Unlike all houses, the Nubian house is characterized by the absence of windows and balconies in it, as they are replaced by a niche or openings in the roof of the house, and this architectural technique aims to maintain moisture inside the house so that the warm air rises to the top and goes out, and only cold air remains at the bottom due to the presence of domes. This creates a current of moist air inside the Nubian house.

Women and decorating Nubian homes

For thousands of years, Nubians have been interested in drawing on the walls of their homes, and Nubian women usually decorate and decorate homes, especially during times of happy occasions, such as weddings within the family and during holidays.

Some Nubian houses combine in their architecture Pharaonic, Coptic and Islamic models that blend together in great harmony, and are decorated with brightly colored drawings.

The Nubian women’s taste is reflected in the delicate decorative units repeated on the horizontal and vertical axes, in the form of units and geometric shapes such as circles, triangles, stars and crescents, and drawings and decorations derived from the surrounding environment and nearby . to the daily life of the Nubians, such as the planting of pots, Nile, palms, birds, animals, brides and fans next to the pharaonic scarab. The decorations that decorate the walls of Nubian houses are between expressive drawing and written speech. They are popular in nature and carry with them various symbolic social, cultural and environmental connotations, some of which carry a legendary character.

We can say that the Nubian decorations were strongly influenced by Coptic art due to the stay of a large number of Christian monks in the past in Nubia, where they built a group of monasteries and churches there, and the influence of Islamic art also reflected. on both the Nubian houses and crafts, where the Nubians were inspired by the art of making arabesques. And they used Islamic symbols and motifs, such as the crescent and the star.

Make use of the elements of the surrounding environment

Each Nubian village or island differs in terms of the symbols and drawings that decorate the walls of their houses; We find that some of them in the decoration of the houses depend on the use of both the colored, prominent and sunken decorative units, and decorate the facades of the houses, as well as on the repetition of the decorative elements inspired by the surrounding environment , which carries symbolic connotations and combines them with abstract geometric shapes such as triangle, circle and cylinder, and is drawn on opposite sides of the entrance to the Nubian house and on the top is drawn symmetrically.

The Nubian person is eager to take advantage of the elements of the living environment, especially the palm, which is used in many uses inside the houses in Nubia, where palm trunks after being split and pruned are used as internal vertical supports for houses, and as horizontal supports to support ceilings, and palm fronds are used in the ceilings of some non-essential rooms. At home, palm leaves, after being cut into small pieces, are used as components of the mixture from which building blocks are made and the adhesive between the molds.

The most beautiful Nubian islands and villages

The island of Hessa, located east of the city of Aswan in the arms of the Nile River, is one of the oldest and most beautiful Nubian islands. Its history dates back to the Pharaonic era, as it served as a burial ground for priests and priestesses. It is characterized by containing many Pharaonic monuments and drawings, in addition to being a health sanctuary for patients with rheumatism and joint pain, which makes it a destination that attracts many tourists every year, especially in winter, as it is warm in winter and hot in summer.

The Nubian houses on that island enjoy bright colors. They are built on the rocks of the small mountain and are symmetrically distributed. Their walls are covered with bright drawings and stones, and their architecture combines Pharaonic, Coptic and Islamic models.

The island of Hesa ​​is characterized by the manufacture of wooden boats, which are the only means of transport for access and exit, and most of its inhabitants work in the professions of fishing, carpentry and the manufacture of agricultural tools, such as the water wheel and the tanbour, and renting boats for tourists, in addition to making pottery from the Nile silt, handicrafts and Nubian accessories that they sell to tourists and visitors to the island.

While the village of Gharb Sohail and Sohail Island is also considered one of the most beautiful Nubian villages that attract large numbers of tourists in the Aswan governorate, and its history dates back to about a hundred years, and some village houses host visitors who come to the Nubian heritage and the beautiful view of the banks of the Nile, offering them Nubian food and drinks, and traditional singing and entertainment.

Nubian architecture continues to be a source of inspiration for many architects and artists, including the late Egyptian Hassan Fathi, who was inspired by Nubian rural architecture in his architectural style, especially in building the village of Qurna.

The local residents of the village of Gharb Sohail preserve the old Nubian customs and heritage, and build their houses in the form of domes, which are often painted white to reduce the heat of the sun. Some villagers keep crocodiles in their houses.

Inspiring architecture and eco-friendly homes

There is no doubt that Nubian architecture is environmentally friendly because of its unique characteristics in building materials or design that depend on wind directions and natural lighting from the sun.

In the past, Nubian houses were built with mud bricks, before the displacement of the Nuba people in 1963 due to the construction of the High Dam, but nowadays building materials for Nubian houses and buildings have evolved, and most of them are now built using reinforced concrete, red bricks and ceramics. Because of the Nubian people’s association with the Nile, blue is used to paint most of the new houses, which are covered with decorations derived from the Nubian heritage, and some stuffed animals, especially crocodiles, are hung on them.

Despite this, a large segment of Nubians prefer mud houses because they are suitable for the climate and are not affected by the heat in summer, so they do not need air conditioners, and protect them from the cold of winter, and they was not affected by rain because of the domes, and when winter comes, the people close the ventilation holes in the domes to prevent air and rain from entering.

Nubian architecture continues to be a source of inspiration for many architects and artists, including the late Egyptian Hassan Fathi, who was inspired by Nubian rural architecture in his architectural style, especially in building the village of Qurna.

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