The Azulejos Museum, a trip into the heart of Portugal



Following a trip to Lisbon, you really feel you want to share so much about what you have seen there. So in this train of thought, I suggest we take a walk through The Azulejos Museum, a trip into the heart of Portugal.

One of the most important cultural constituents of a country is the architecture. But what about those adornments that decorate and enrich the buildings? The azulejos are a part of Lisbon and Portuguese architecture and we warmly invite you to admire and appreciate this during your trip. And you will see it is in fact not at all hard to find them, because the azulejos are virtually everywhere on the streets of Portugal, one out of three houses in Lisbon displays intricate and beautiful exterior azulejos.

Which begs the question: what are azulejos? They are painted tin-glazed ceramic tiles that were initially used both as ornaments and as temperature control methods. The word comes from the Arabic “az-zulayj”, which actually means “polished stone”. These are found in Morocco and throughout the Arab world as well, though the Portuguese have raised the azulejos to a state of true art and inprinted them into the cultural identity of the country.

Nevertheless, it was the Romans who first used these tiles, not the Arabs or the Portuguese. At any rate, you will find no azulejos as the Portuguese ones anywhere in the world. Brazil also displays some fine examples of the blue azulejos, as they used to be a Portuguese colony.

But the azulejos in Portugal and different and the best place to see some of the greatest samples from the 13th century up until today is the National Azulejos Museum in Lisbon. You can get a Lisbon transfer to take you there and the entry ticket is just 5 Euro. It is very accessible and worth spending a few great hours learning about this art and how the azulejos became part of the Portuguese identity.