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Gazebos include pagodas, pavilions, kiosks, belvederes, follies, alambras, pergolas, and rotundas. Such structures are popular in warm and sunny climates. They are in the literature of China, Persia, and many other classical civilizations, going back to several millennia. Examples of such structures are the garden houses at Montacute House.
The word origin is unknown and has no cognates in other European languages. False etymologies are proposed, such as the French Que c'est beau ("How beautiful") and the Macaronic Latin gazebo ("I shall gaze"). L.L. Bacon proposed a derivation from Casbah, a Muslim quarter around the citadel in Algiers. W. Sayers proposed Hispano-Arabic qushaybah, in a poem by Cordoban poet Ibn Quzman (d. 1160).
The word gazebo was used by British architects William and John Halfpenny in their book Rural Architecture in the Chinese Taste (1750). Plate 55 of the book “Elevation of a Chinese Gazebo” shows “a Chinese Tower or Gazebo, situated on a Rock, and raised to a considerable Height, and a Gallery round it to render the Prospect more complete”.
In contemporary England and North America gazebos are typically built of wood and covered with standard roofing materials, such as shingles. Gazebos can be tent-style structures of poles covered by tensioned fabric. Gazebos may have screens to aid in the exclusion of flying insects.