The major feature of Portuguese architecture is certainly its azulejos, the colourful tiles of polished ceramic - among which the blue and white from the baroque era (18th century) are best known; they decorate the walls and sometimes the floors and ceilings of monuments, churches and palaces. Their origin dates back to the Moors and their use in architecture is used to the point of covering the entire façades of numerous public buildings such as restaurants, apartment blocks or underground train stations. Hand painted or industrially produced, they can either tell a story or be solely decorative. For the real enthusiasts, the Azulejo National Museum in Lisbon, housed in the cloisters of Madre de Deus's church, is a must-see.
Climbing plants provide welcome shade whilst admiring the tiles© Rpimages / 123RF
The art of tile painting was introduced into Portugal in the 15th century by the Moors© Philippe Halle / 123RF
Tiles depicting scenes from Portuguese history© Joseelias / 123RF
Scenes depicting the fourteen stages of the cross© Andrey Khrobostov / 123RF
Detail of a building in Bairro Alto© Andrey Khrobostov / 123RF