Tile Vault: Lisbon and Sintra

Tile Vault: Lisbon and Sintra

Gregory Han
Feb 24, 2009

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Although we weren't able to land a house tour during our short stay near Lisbon, we did snap countless photos of exteriors of homes, most notably structures with the distinct decorative exterior tiling in Lisbon and the picturesque storybook town of Sintra. Known as azulejos (derived from the Arabic word az-zulayj, meaning "polished stone", which we learned during our visit to the Museu Nacional do Azulejo), the tiles decorate what seems to be 70% of the homes in many of the older, historic neighborhoods in Lisbon. The tiles vary from geometric to painterly, Moorish to Parisian in representation, and there seems to be a notable pride in decorating each home's exterior with a distinct pattern and colour scheme. As we walked down the streets of the neighborhood of Belém in Lisbon, we lost count of the number of different tiles adorning slim and tall dwellings. It is this pastiche of colour and pattern which we'll forever remember as one of our favourite architectural aspects of Portugal...

Some additional links and information about Portuguese azulejos below:

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