Portugal’s Beautiful Ceramic Tiles, AZULEJOS – Decor and Dine

Portugal’s Beautiful Ceramic Tiles, AZULEJOS

Azulejo, Povoa

When I think of Portugal a few things come to mind,…seafood, port, wine, beautiful architecture and with the latter azulejos! 

Azulejo, Povoa de Varzim

The word “azulejos” stems from Arabic roots meaning “small polished stone” and dates as far back as the 13th century.

povoa de varzim azulejo

Antique azulejos were simple structures cut into geometric shapes in neutral tones, blues and whites.  These colours were influenced by the Age of Discoveries during the 15th – 18th centuries.  Later, simple geometric shapes were replaced by more ornate decoration and other colours appeared, yellows and greens.

Obidos, porta da vila

Beautiful Azulejos in Obidos, Portugal

church tiles, Portugal

 Through its decorative means, azulejos tells the story about Portugal’s history, religion, and culture.  They can be seen decorating churches, monasteries, palaces, railway stations, restaurants … and private homes.  Did you know they are used extensively in interior decorating as well?

If you are visiting Portugal, or plan to, make sure to see the National Azulejo (Tile) Museum, Sao Bento Railway Station, and the Bucaco Palace …to name a few.

National Azulejo Museum.Lisbon

National Azulejo Museum (Lisbon)

Sao Bento Railway Station.Porto

Sao Bento Railway Station (Porto)

Bucacao Palace.blue tiles

Bucaco Palace (Aveiro) 

 You can also see traditional azulejo artform transformed into contemporary works for the home at Casa Cubista.

Casa CubistaCasa Cubista

Two of Margaret’s favourite pieces of jewelry!

 If you’re a jewelry lover and want to wear a piece of history Atrio has a wide selection of antique tile replica jewelry. Here is our interview with Elizabeth from Atrio.

We would love to hear from you.  Share your comments.  


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    I love them! They are so colorful and playful.A such a beautiful place. Will be visiting November 2017. Cannot wait to smell the lemons see the flowers and shop shop shop till I drop.Thank you for your fantastic article
    I have been a ritual magician for over 30 years. I have gotten to the point where all I do is protective magic. Each piece is charged with magical protective powers.

  • Margaret Varela

    Thanks Barbara. Glad you enjoyed the post and gave us your feedback. We will be writing more posts on Portuguese pottery! Have a great weekend!

  • Barbara

    This was so interesting. I have always liked pottery from Portugal and I am aware of the beautiful tiles that come from there too. The jewelry is beautiful.

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