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Sunday, July 3, 2022

The Historical past Of Portugal’s Azulejos Tiles And The place To See Them

Photographs of Portugal typically embody the colourful glazed tiles discovered all through the nation. Azulejos, as these tiles are known as, have been distinguished in Portugal for the reason that 1700s. Their inspiration got here from the Moorish affect of invaders in Spain and Portugal as early because the 13th century. 

The phrase azulejo comes from Arabic, that means “little polished stone.” Showing on the exteriors and interiors of buildings like church buildings, markets, prepare stations, and authorities buildings, they carry with them a significant historical past and deep connection to the Portuguese id. Over the centuries, azulejos have developed and unfold in order that an infinite selection might be discovered all around the nation. Right here’s the story behind Portugal’s colourful tiles and among the finest locations to see them.

Sue Reddel & Diana Laskaris

Historical past Of Portugal’s Colourful Tiles

King Manuel I, referred to as “the Lucky,” dominated over nice growth and formation of the Portuguese Empire. When he visited Granada, Spain and noticed the gorgeous Alhambra palace with its colourful tiles, he introduced again the concept of utilizing tiles to decorate empty partitions in Portuguese structure. The tiles of this time had been easy geometric shapes in accordance with non secular regulation, however as they grew in recognition and legal guidelines modified, so did the azulejos.

As time marched on, the azulejos developed. Within the 17th century, azulejo designs had been influenced by the well-known blue-and-white tiles of Delft within the Netherlands. The Portuguese elite beloved the blue and white tiles and purchased them from Amsterdam till King Pedro III of Portugal put a halt on the imports. He needed Portugal to provide azulejos within the nation and so started the home manufacturing of Portuguese azulejos.

The 18th century was a golden age for the mass manufacturing of azulejos in Portugal. The Portuguese, recognized for telling tales, used the tiles as a method to create public artworks that weren’t solely stunning but in addition communicated the whole lot from historical past to tradition. Tiles included depictions of nature and scenes of human life, and in the end turned extra colourful and immensely fashionable. Total ceilings and partitions have been assembled to impart historical past and inform tales.

Finest Locations To See Portugal’s Tiles

As stunning as they’re, azulejos additionally assist preserve indoor temperatures cooler throughout scorching Portugal summers. The weather-resistant tile surfaces shield towards deterioration from wetness within the winters. It’s no shock that as of late, azulejos might be discovered nearly anyplace in Portugal telling tales, brightening up the surroundings, and defending individuals inside buildings in addition to the buildings themselves. Though it could be exhausting to go to Portugal and never run into azulejos, listed below are some particular locations to think about.

Santo Ildefonso, Porto, Portugal.
Santo Ildefonso (Picture Credit score: Sue Reddel & Diana Laskaris)

1. Porto

Porto is the second largest metropolis in Portugal (after Lisbon) and some of the stunning. Along with its vibrant tradition and distinctive sights, Porto is house to some gorgeous examples of azulejos. São Bento Railway Station is high of the checklist for these on the lookout for distinctive examples of the storytelling tiles. Celebrated as some of the stunning prepare stations on the planet, São Bento’s vestibule partitions are lined with tiles displaying necessary occasions in Portuguese historical past. Taking on a decade to finish, there are 20,000 tiles of varied occasions together with necessary battles. Amongst different nice spots to see stunning azulejos is the spectacular Capela das Almas or “Chapel of Souls.” It has virtually 16,000 blue and white tiles displaying scenes from the lives of saints, together with Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Catherine, the patron saints of the chapel. No marvel this can be a favourite for pictures in Porto.

Blue and white tiled building in Lisbon, Portugal.
Sue Reddel & Diana Laskaris

2. Lisbon

The capital metropolis is bursting with azulejos. Simply strolling the streets by many neighborhoods will present a wide range of examples. However if you wish to get colourful tiles in severe doses, there are additionally a number of further particular locations price seeing. Fronteira Palace was initially constructed as a summer season house for the Marquis of Fronteira and his spouse. Nonetheless, when the nice earthquake of 1755 destroyed their most important residence in Lisbon, this property was expanded and have become the household’s most important house. A number of stunning façades and the gallery of the humanities terrace are nice examples of azulejos. Contained in the palace, the Room of Battles shows necessary navy battles of the time. Different rooms use azulejos to point out off the home-owner’s wealth and good style. The Nationwide Azulejo Museum is situated inside a convent constructed by Queen Leonor, which itself comprises stunning azulejos. The museum exhibits the historical past of azulejos and takes guests by their distinctive evolution and improvement over time. The Bairro Alto neighborhood is kind of colourful and enjoyable to stroll by as nicely.

Blue and white tiles in Aveiro, Portugal.
Sue Reddel & Diana Laskaris

3. Aveiro

Not solely is Aveiro one in every of our favourite cities in Portugal, it’s also an awesome place to see azulejos. Aveiro is usually known as the “Venice of Portugal” due to its colourful moliceiro boats which are just like gondolas and the central canals on which they float. However for lovers of tile, the town is stuffed with much more delights. The previous prepare station is an efficient place to start out, with scenes of native actions and employees within the space going about their actions in conventional work garments. Artwork Nouveau is very seen within the metropolis’s buildings, and among the most pleasant examples of azulejos might be discovered there as nicely. The Misericórdia Church presents one other great spot to see stunning tiles.

Blue and white tiles in Carcavelos, Portugal.
Sue Reddel & Diana Laskaris

4. Carcavelos

Lisboetas (Lisbon residents) flock to Carcavelos on the Estoril Coast in the summertime for its amazingly extensive and lengthy seashore, excellent to beat the warmth of the town. However Carcavelos additionally occurs to have rather a lot to fulfill azulejos lovers as nicely. The Cerâmica Artistica de Carcavelos is an azulejos manufacturing facility that has a retailer you may go to. When you have a hankering to get one thing custom-made, they are going to be all too glad that can assist you. In addition they do restoration work on azulejos in church buildings and buildings across the metropolis. One fantastic instance is the Parish Church of Carcavelos. In it are azulejos depicting St. Francis’s stigmata, the Magi, the Ardour of Christ, and St. Anthony’s sermon. These tiles had been initially created by Gabriel del Barco, the 17th-century Spanish painter instrumental within the improvement of azulejos in Portugal.

blue and white tiles at Madeira Airport, Portugal.
Madeira Airport (Picture Credit score: Sue Reddel & Diana Laskaris)

5. Madeira

The island of Madeira is a beautiful place to go to. Other than the various issues to do, lush vegetation, blue skies, and exquisite seaside eating places, there are additionally loads of azulejos tiles to get pleasure from. Begin with the primary cease when arriving at Madeira Airport in Funchal. Though it has a difficult location with a singular runway, it additionally has some stunning azulejo tiles to get pleasure from once you arrive or go away. Also called Cristiano Ronaldo Worldwide Airport, named after arguably the most well-liked soccer participant on the planet, it’s truthful to say that that is one spot the place there’s loads of present and go. One other fabulous spot to see azulejo tiles is the Mercado dos Lavradores, the farmers market within the middle of Funchal. Tile panels depicting scenes of the area cowl the primary entrance, façade, and the fish market.

blue and white tiles in Sintra, Portugal.
Sue Reddel & Diana Laskaris

6. Sintra

Within the 10th century when Portugal was underneath Moorish management, the Sintra Nationwide Palace was the governor’s house and stuffed with very early azulejos which disappeared through the years. The palace then turned house to eight kings, together with Manuel I, who introduced again azulejos from Spain. Azulejos nonetheless maintain a distinguished place within the palace and round Sintra at present. The gorgeous park surrounding the palace can be an awesome place to see some fabulous tilework. Fountains, partitions, and arches show azulejos together with geometric designs and nature scenes, nice inspiration for taking some wonderful hikes on trails within the space.

blue and white tiles in Cascais, Portugal.
Sue Reddel & Diana Laskaris

7. Cascais

We might be remiss if we didn’t point out the azulejos in our neck of the Portuguese woods. So, we’ll end off with a suggestion not solely to go to the great eating places and seashores of Cascais, but in addition to do some wandering to take a look at the tiles. It’s fairly simple to seek out them, and the attractive Metropolis Corridor façade is an ideal instance. As you stroll round having fun with the ocean breeze, you may also cease by the Church of Our Girl of Assumption for one more nice instance. One remaining cease, which is a lot of enjoyable on Wednesdays and Saturdays when it is stuffed with farmers promoting recent produce and items, is the Mercado da Vila. There are massive blue and white panels depicting, appropriately sufficient, scenes of farming and farmers. We additionally see azulejos on buildings round Parque Marechal-Carmona in addition to on many streets as we get pleasure from a stroll alongside winding again streets and roads with seashore views.

Professional Tip: There’s a enjoyable board sport for followers of azulejo tiles known as Azul that permits you to embellish your personal palace with stunning azulejo tiles. 

The colourful tiles known as azulejos are a significant a part of Portugal’s tradition and historical past. They supply an necessary hyperlink to the previous in addition to an attention-grabbing lens for the nation’s improvement. Not solely have the kinds and makes use of of the tiles modified over the centuries, however the shows themselves typically inform vital tales — from heroic battles to the on a regular basis work of common residents. Whereas having fun with the great thing about Portugal that envelops you as you discover, take some time to hunt out these residing artworks. They’ll offer you a good deeper sense of the Portuguese individuals and their method of appreciating cultural parts from elsewhere and making them undeniably their very own.

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