How splendid it is for a country to have its own unique art form. In Portugal, this would be Azulejos, hand-painted and tin-glazed ceramic tiles. In Portugal, these tiules adorn everything from buildings, to churches, to subway stations, to ornate turn-of-the-century railroad stations. Their size can range from the size of a doorway to entire buildings. And, more than just decorative art, the tiles are also often used as construction materials.
“creativity takes courage” Henri Matisse
Azulejos most probably came to Portugal during Moorish rule in the 1400’s. Though the word does sound like the Spanish word for blue, ‘Azul’, ‘Azulejo’ comes from the Arabic ‘Az-Zulayj’ meaning polished stone.
One of the most beautiful examples of azulejos is in one of the most beautiful railway stations in the world – Sao Bento Station in Porto, Portugal. The station opened in 1916 and was built on the site of an old Benedictine monestery. The vestibule, created by artist Jorbge Colaco, is filled with over 20,000 azulejo tiles – an artistic depiction of historic battles and the history of transport.
Sao Bento Railway Station, Porto, Portugal
MUST VISIT PLACES FOR AZULEJOS IN PORTUGAL:
Lisbon Subway Stations: Alvalade, Campo Grande, Entrecampos, Rossio, Campo Pequeno.
Sao Bento Railway Station, Porto
Bank of Materials, Porto
Pinhao Railway Station, along Duoro River outside of Porto.
Due to COVID-19, all 2020 tours were cancelled. We remain hopeful for a return to responsible adventure travel in 2021. Until then…