The Last Time I saw Lisbon: Azulejos

The azulejos I was compelled to photograph on my walks around Lisbon are the ones that made me feel a tender sadness upon seeing their brokenness. I sensed that they were already fragments of a goneby era, on their way out, their beauty disappearing from the life of the city. I hope I am wrong and that they all survive, but it’s been a while since I saw them in 2011.

You can buy azulejos in places like Feira da Ladra and antique shops.  I hear that not all are stolen property, but who knows for sure. You can see a catalogue of Azulejos Furtados (stolen).

You can buy reproductions if you want to bring an azulejo souvenir back from your travels.

When I was in Lisbon I visited Tiago Praça’s Olaria. He is a gifted artist who creates modern designed azulejos as well as other decorative pieces.

About thetorzorean

The musings of a torontonian azorean on identity and belonging. You can find me at
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7 Responses to The Last Time I saw Lisbon: Azulejos

  1. Kathie B says:

    Thanks, Emanuel! I love both the traditional and modernistic azulejos, whether in repeating patterns or as part of much larger images.

    As you note, tourists can readily purchase souvenir tiles to bring home, although I hasten to point out that they’re HEAVY (a consideration for those of us who “travel light”) and need to be wrapped well to protect against potential breakage in one’s luggage (I used some clothing).

    On an early Azores trip I purchased a traditional-style azulejo with a saying in the original Portuguese that I was taught as a child (in English) was one of my Noronha grandmother’s favorites. It still sits right next to my computer.

    “Com vinagre não se apanham moscas.”

    The English equivalent is, “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”

    Liked by 2 people

  2. These are magnificent. I especially love the larger themes. I see the influence is some newer decor trends. Everything old is new again.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. dulcedelgado says:

    Nos últimos anos foram imensos os edifícios antigos recuperados em Lisboa, muitos com fachadas de azulejos. Mas outros continuarão o seu processo de degradação…
    Sim, Lisboa é um belo lugar para encontrar lindíssimos azulejos nas fachadas dos edifícios. É sempre uma descoberta!

    Liked by 1 person

    • thetorzorean says:

      Obrigado, Dulce, pela informação. Gostei de saber que tem havido recuperação de edifíçios em Lisboa. Foi pena eu não poder ter ido lá este ano para ver com os meus olhos. Talvez um dia futuro vai ser possível. Oxalá.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Carol Wells-Gordon says:

    Hi Emanuel, I have been quite enjoying your photos of scenes in “The Last Time I Saw Lisbon” series. I must confess to not being able to find you in the photo of the flea market. Where were you? Now you have presented a beautiful pictorial tour of those magnificent tiles. Even in disrepair, they are spectacular in light and colour and pattern, some of them even dizzying. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thetorzorean says:

      Thank you, Carol. I’m glad you are enjoying the series. If you go back to the opening photograph of the Feira da Ladra post, look at the centre of the photograph, behind the green table. There’s a frame leaning against the wall. Look inside the frame and you’ll see me taking the picture. Lol


  5. Kathie B says:

    You might also enjoy “To Get to Know Portugal, Explore Its Azulejo Tilework / Since the 13th century, artists have been reinventing the art form that covers churches, palaces and train stations”:


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