Discover Portugal throughout it’s Glazed Tile
If you could walk the streets of Portugal with your eyes closed while touching the walls with your hands, you’d notice that over 70% of them are covered with a luxurious material: glazed tile. The word that defines this material in Spanish, azulejo, comes at the same time from the Arab word az-zulay that means, “smooth out”.
The originality of Portuguese glazed tile lies in its motifs, which are not just a form of religious expression, as it usually happens in the Muslim tradition. Nowadays you can find hundreds of popular themed façades in buildings all around Portuguese cities.
Apart from adorning areas, glazed tile helps us exercise our memory through the visualization of images and it increases the reflection of light. Therefore, when you prepare your camera to immortalize any scene represented on this material, we recommend that you avoid using flash while increasing your ISO values.
São Bento Train Station
There are several places where you can find unique glazed tile works. For example, travelers who arrive in Porto by train find the São Bento train station walls covered with over 20,000 glazed tiles that represent different scenes from Portuguese history.
Church of São Roque in Lisbon
You can find another example at São Roque’s church in Lisbon. This place is finely decorated with diamond pointed glazed tiles. This finish turns the tile into the ideal material to trigger the refraction of indoors light, creating a yellowish and elegant environment.
University of Minho in Braga
Inside other laic buildings like the University of Minho in Braga, glazed tile is painted with patterns that can be linked with the classical Greek and Roman cultures as well as with other costumbrist scenes that offer a very pleasant learning environment for students.
National Glazed tile Museum in Lisbon
If you want to learn about the evolution of this exquisite decorative technique, DINKtravelers suggests visiting the National Glazed tile Museum in Lisbon. There you will find the second greatest glazed tile collection worldwide as well as a spectacular souvenir store. You will feel as if you were still walking around the halls of the museum with the only difference that you’ll get the chance to pick your favorite tiles and take them with you.
Something interesting is that, just as it happens with painting, glazed tile has experimented several changes throughout the centuries. Nowadays, new collections are trying to recreate some of the elements that were popular in the past but combining them with modern motifs.