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Inspiration - Blue tiles of Portugal

Inspiration - Blue tiles of Portugal

The Timeless Beauty of Blue Azulejos Tiles in Portugal

I had the opportunity to take my daughter with me to Portugal this past summer and we were absolutely enamored by the gorgeous azulejos tiles that the country is famous for. They were everywhere- outside and inside of churches, at the train station, restaurants, hotels, and even on the sidewalks. We took a wonderful tile painting class with Domus Arte in Porto and learned all about the history of azulejos.



Azulejos, the iconic blue ceramic tiles that adorn the buildings of Portugal, have a history as rich and diverse as the patterns that grace the facades of the country's structures. Originating from the Arabic word "az-zulayj," meaning "polished stone," these tiles have been an integral part of Portuguese culture since the 15th century. Introduced by the Moors, azulejos initially drew inspiration from Islamic geometric patterns. Over the centuries, they evolved, incorporating influences from various cultures, and became a distinctive feature of Portuguese architecture. With vibrant colors, intricate designs, and a dedication to craftsmanship, azulejos tell the story of Portugal's artistic and cultural evolution.

Where to Encounter the Best Azulejos in Porto and Lisbon

To truly appreciate the mesmerizing beauty of blue azulejos, one must embark on a journey through the streets of Porto and Lisbon, where some of the finest examples of these tiles can be found. In Porto, our favorites were Igreja do Carmo and São Bento Railway Station (a testament to the grandeur of azulejos. Its walls are adorned with over 20,000 hand-painted tiles, illustrating scenes from Portugal's history, rural life, and transportation). 



Lisbon, the capital city, is another treasure trove of azulejo wonders. The National Azulejo Museum showcases an extensive collection that spans several centuries, providing insight into the evolution of this traditional art form. One cannot miss the façade of the Church of São Vicente de Fora, where blue azulejos depict biblical scenes and historical events. Wander through the Alfama district, and you'll discover charming corners adorned with these stunning tiles, turning an ordinary stroll into a cultural immersion.



For a more immersive experience, visit the Convent of Christ in Tomar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where azulejos narrate tales of Portugal's maritime history. The Capela das Almas in Porto is another hidden gem, where a small chapel is entirely covered in blue azulejos, creating an ethereal atmosphere that captivates visitors.

When I told my daughter that I wanted to create a print inspired by the azulejos that we saw in Portugal, she got to work right away to help me. She's a true artist! Here she is in front of the Igreja do Carmo in Porto, finishing a piece she started on the airplane. 

Coming soon, our newest print "Azul" will be available in the Marie swim dress and. Elizabeth tankini top. Stay tuned!

 




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