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Cool Mallorcan Persianas


Newcomers to and visitors of Mallorca are often amazed about an initial impression that Mallorcan villages seem closed off and shut down. All the houses have their window shutters closed, as if uninhabited. But first impressions often are completely off the mark; sometimes the opposite is true. All the seemingly closed off and abandoned houses are very actively lived in and are in full use. Persianas (window shutters) are closed because they provide a function. They are akin to an archaic form of air conditioning. Persianas keep the houses cool. In the current heatwave – yesterday some places in Mallorca’s interior recorded temperatures of up to 37° C – such a cooling aid is rather indispensable.

The invention of persianas must be one of the greatest ingenuities that the Spanish mind has ever created. Which of course is not quite correct. If my sense for the etymology of words is correct the word persiana suggests that these wooden blinds or shutters were first invented by the ancient Persian geniuses.

Whatever. There can be no doubt that persiana shutters are a godsend.

To understand how persianas work one has to know them. Persiana shutters not only keep the light out but they also filter the light and partially let light in. From the exterior persiana shutters appear as if impenetrable, but from the interior one realizes that vision is still possible. One can see out without being seen. With the filtering of light the heat stays out as well. Persianas are probably the best way to keep a house cool – provided one keeps them shut.

The photo was taken in Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: July 2nd, 2009. The time was 19:02:33.

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