13 August 18: Azulejo blue & white

One of my favourite colourful things about Porto is the traditional azulejo tiles.

There are buildings where lore and legend are played out on entire walls thanks to these little painted squares (like the outside of this church, top right, and the inside of Sao Bento station in central Porto). Absolutely gorgeous. My friend Fi @alentejowine and I did a tile-painting course in Porto last week with @gazeteazulejos We thought that the word azulejo came from the Portuguese for blue, azul, but apparently it comes from the Arabic الزليج (az-zulayj): zellige, meaning ‘polished stone’ (because the original idea was to imitate the Byzantine and Roman mosaics). These tiles are everywhere – not always in blue and white but always interesting, intricate and a joy to clap eyes on. Alba and Marisa, the girls who run the course, have made it their mission to audit Porto’s fabulous facade tiles @azulejosporto – hopefully before these stunning squares get trashed by developers who sometimes fail to appreciate their historic beauty. What’s not to love? Well worth a trip to Porto.

Martha, The Colour File x

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