Azotea is a term of Arabic origin which we use to describe the roof or flat covering of a building. An open, accessible area, where it is possible to walk.
In those places that enjoy a sunny climate for most of the year, as does Andalucía, a southern region of Spain, it is very common for the houses to be blessed with an azotea. In the past, that was where clean washing was hung out, and it is hung there still, on cables to dry in the sun.
Carpets were changed and beaten on the azoteas, those now extinct sheep’s wool or cotton mattresses were opened and unravelled. Airing them and fluffing them up was an arduous but necessary duty that was carried out from time to time to rid them of the lumpiness they suffered from as a result of bearing the weight of the bodies that rested on them.
But the utility and service of the azoteas goes much further than this.