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Why there is no Islamic architecture with glass in windows before 18th century? Glass windows frequently appear in gothic architecture since 11th century but why Medieval Islamic architecture lack glasswork?

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    I don't know first hand, but I suspect the Arabian peninsula and North Africa are pretty warm places, without too many bugs. There isn't much need for windows there until you have air conditioning. I honestly don't now about Iran or Pakistan though. I don't know about India / Bangladesh / Indonesia window history at all, so can't comment on that. Perhaps central Asian Islamic architecture will have windows? Although in the 17th century most of the central Asian plain was nomadic. I wonder what the mosques were like back then in that area. – axsvl77 Jan 27 at 16:47
  • It might be worth looking into Muslim architecture in North China as well. These structures are likely to have windows, as North China has bugs and cold weather. Although I have not idea if window usage was prevalent during the Ming of Qing dynasty. – axsvl77 Jan 27 at 16:49
  • BTW, welcome to stack exchange: history. – axsvl77 Jan 27 at 16:50
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    This is an example of 15th century Islamic architecture of Central Asia thumbs.dreamstime.com/z/… Even central asian islamic architecture lacks glass window. ln lran it appeared in 18th century. – Mark fuxerbergstein6 Jan 27 at 19:32
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    "Cairo abounds in buildings with stained glass windows of all periods from the ninth century to the twentieth." touregypt.net/featurestories/glass.htm (that link may have a malicious ad) – Spencer Jan 27 at 20:15
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The Blue Mosque may have had stained glass windows since 1617.

Nonetheless, consider the tradition of ventilated buildings in Islamic architecture. Buildings for hot, dry climates often have thick walls and small windows. This insulates while maintaining airflow, and may be the only option for earthen construction. In such places it's so bright outside that a small fraction of that light suffices inside. If for some reason you want to block the window, stick something into it. No glass is needed for this arrangement.

In Islamic architecture, latticework screens called jali represent an artistic approach to the principle of ventilated buildings. They provide shade, brilliant highlights, and interesting shadows, just like stained glass. This traditional element may help explain a relative dearth of stained glass windows in monumental buildings.

Jaali at Sarkhej Roza

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    I'd be quite surprised if there aren't more examples of pre-18th century glass usage in the Ottoman Empire or Transoxiana. Cities like Istanbul and Bukhara get snow during the winter. – Denis de Bernardy Jul 29 at 8:21
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In addition to its European influences, Islamic architecture was most heavily influenced by Persian architecture. That's because the climate of Persia was most representative of that of most of the Islamic world.

The latter made heavy use of tiles to cover its domes, and even its windows. Creating windows with glass would have been "redundant" with tiles, which is why Islamic architecture did not use glass until the Middle Ages were long past.

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