T is for Tiles

I’ve just returned from an Easter break on a little tour of the homeland, Portugal, where in between mouthfuls of pastries and other local delicacies I came up for air to stroll and take in the sights. The best thing about the trip was that there was no agenda, we took each day as it came which really allowed me to pay attention to the little details that are often overlooked. One of the highlights was definitely a few days in Lisbon where I fell in love with so many different patterns and colours of the tiles that wrap the buildings.

Colourful Old Portuguese Tiles

In Portugal, azulejos are found on the interior and exterior of churches, palaces, ordinary houses and even train stations. They constitute a major aspect of Portuguese architecture as they are applied on walls, floors and even ceilings. They were not only used as an ornamental art form, but also had a specific functional capacity like temperature control of homes. Many azulejos also chronicle major historical and cultural aspects of Portuguese history. Now, It’s not that I’ve not noticed the tiles before, but perhaps as I had more time on my hands it allowed to really appreciate what a beautiful part of the culture they are.

The art was introduced to Portugal, via Spain, by the Moors and the craft is still in use in the Arab world. The word azulejo is derived from the Arabic word الزليج (al zulayj): zellige, meaning “polished stone”. This origin explains the unmistakable Arab influences in many tiles: interlocking curvilinear, geometric or floral motifs. (Wikipedia)

These pics are some shots I took in Lisbon, They’re so pretty that I’m definitely going to look into having some of my own one day to serve, not only for nostalgic purposes, but also as a feature for a home away from home.

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