The Houses of Sulaymaniyah, a description

"The description of our house will serve for that of all the better sort in Sulimania: it is a square building of one story, standing on a basement of about three feet high, and built of bricks dried in the sun, having a plastering of mud mixed with chopped straw over the whole. One or two rooms inside have been white-limed over the mud coating. The roof is flat, and is formed by rafters, reeds, and a coating of earth. This house stands in a large open enclosure, or as we would say in India in a compound: this is subdivided into two courts by a cross wall, which joins the house at each side near its centre, leaving the front in one enclosure and the back in another: this makes the Haram (the women's apartments) and Divan Khaneh (the part of the house where the master receives his visitors, and in which the men servants reside); but there is no communication between them by a door in the house itself, as in all Turkish houses; you must go round by a door in the wall which divides the compound into two: this is peculiarly inconvenient in bad weather. The area of both courts is covered with grass, and planted with willows, poplars, mulberries and rose bushes, interspersed in little bouquets. A stream of water runs through the court of every house in Sulimania, which is supplied from the mountains by a kahreez or aqueduct. With respect to the distribution of the rooms, it seems regulated by no plan, at least I am not able to discover any order or contrivance in it; only that in both the haram and divan khaneh is a talar, or room quite open in the front, which is the general receiving and sleeping room in summer. No one but the poorest persons, who have not such an accommodation in their houses, sleeps on the roof. Some, indeed, in the greatest heats, which only last a month, use a sekoo, or low platform, for that purpose; and, during summer, many construct tchardaks, or huts made of boughs, over a little tank in their own court-yard, or else pitch a tent, to escape from the fleas, which are a terrible nuisance all over the East, and are said to be peculiarly formidable here. In the divan khaneh part of the house is a large vacant space or hall, supported by posts, and almost dark: this is said to be a cool retreat in summer.”

C.J. Rich, 1836. Narrative of a Residence in Koordistan, vol.I, pp. 83-84.