Decorated Tile from the Harwan Monastery

Decorated Tile from the Harwan Monastery

The patron was Walter Espec, who had founded the mother house and settled the new community on one of his inherited estates, on unprofitable wasteland, as its early name, St Mary de Sartis, implied, [3] just the kind of remote, uninhabited sites specified by the founders of the Cistercian order. The first abbot, Simon, was a pupil of Aelred, Abbot of Rievaulx. The success of the abbey may be inferred from the foundation of a daughter house, Sibton Abbey, Suffolk, as soon as 1150. [4] The village of Old Warden, Bedfordshire grew up under the Abbey's protection. Great accumulated Cistercian wealth enabled Wardon Abbey to be rebuilt on a grand scale in the early fourteenth century, with complex tiling in carpet-patterns and pictorial vignettes pieced together in shaped tiles that approached a boldly scaled mosaic. [5] Gilding of the carved details was so lavishly laid on that in 1848, after demolition and burial, recovered fragments retained their brightness. [6] By 1252 the monks had more land under cultivation than they could work by their own labour in the early Cistercian way: nineteen granges were recorded in that year. From the orchards at Wardon came the Warden pear, rated the best of English pears, and so distinctive that a pie made from them was a "wardon pie": "I must have Saffron to colour the Warden Pies" (Shakespeare, The Winter's Tale iv.3). In Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books, edited by Thomas Austin for the Early English Text Society (Original Series, Volume 91), a recipe is given (p. 51) for "Quyncis or Wardouns in past".

The later fourteenth century was a period of retrenchment and decline, in the wake of the Black Death. Wardon Abbey was dissolved in 1537 under Henry VIII, and the estate was sold for £389 16s 6d. The new owner demolished most of the buildings in 1552 to sell the materials, and then built a new red brick mansion, bearing the name Warden Abbey House. Later in 1790, most of this Tudor house was pulled down by its owners, the Whitbreads of nearby Southill, [7] leaving only a north-east wing, which still stands today. The Landmark Trust rescued the building from dereliction in 1974 and renovated it in exchange for a long lease it can now be rented for holidays. [8]

The History of Talavera Tile

Today’s “True” Talavera tile and pottery comes from the rich black and white volcanic soils in and around Puebla, Mexico. Here the tradition and technique of hand-forming these tiles define this vivid craft. But Mexico hasn’t always been Talavera’s home. The history of Talavera spans centuries, cultures and continents.

Spanish Origins

The Church of Santo Domingo.

In the 15th and 16th centuries, the central Iberian town of Talavera de la Reina became internationally renowned for ceramics. They called it “La Ciudad de la Cerámica,” or the “The City of Ceramics.” The city’s designs owe a lot to the international population that resided there. This includes Dutch and Arab settlers that contributed new techniques, tools and tastes that ultimately informed the Talavera style.

When the city of Puebla, Mexico was established in 1531—just a decade after the conquest of the Aztec Empire—the production of ceramic goods came naturally to its people. Partly thanks to the abundance of quality clay and a long tradition of producing earthenware. The prehispanic cultures of Mexico did not, however, use a potter’s wheel and were unfamiliar with tin-glazing. Spaniards introduced both to them in the 16th century. Thus transforming their methods of making, painting, and glazing pottery with Talavera’s now trademark milky white glaze.

The Puebla people inherited their knowledge of the Talavera technique during construction of the Church of Santo Domingo, in 1571. According to many accounts, the Spanish monks called for craftsmen to cross the Atlantic Ocean from Talavera de la Reina. They wanted their monastery and church decorated in the way they were accustomed—with hand-painted tiles and religious figures. (The Santo Domingo was completed in 1611 and remains one of the most impressively ornate interiors in the world and a superb example of Mexican baroque.) Others say the Dominican friars themselves knew how to produce these tiles and taught locals.

We don’t precisely know how or why the Spanish craftsmen arrived in Puebla, but history verifies their presence. They flourished there during the 16th century. They established their workshops during the creation of many churches and monasteries. Very much worthy of a visit, the Puebla region is now a beautiful riot of colonial era buildings covered in Talavera tiles.

Mexican Ceramic Tiles

The Puebla craftspeople incorporated art forms and colors they loved with the new techniques they’d learned from Spanish settlers. This was how Mexican Talavera emerged.

Typical of early Talavera, blue was highly prized.

The broader term, “Mexican maiolica,” sometimes encompasses Talavera. This refers to the Italian tin-glazing pottery technique that was introduced in the 14th century. Originally, the color spoke explicitly to its quality. Ceramics featuring the color blue were easily differentiated as being of the highest quality in the 16th and 17th centuries. As blue pigments were much more expensive. During the 18th century, it became more common to use green, mauve and yellow along with blues. Sourced from natural pigments, as they still are today in the authentic workshops. And it wasn’t just the color of Talavera that was important, but also the volume. The number of Talavera tiles on the facade of a building equated the prosperity of a family or a business. Hence, the saying “to never be able to build a house with tiles” fell into use. In other words, if you can’t build a house with tiles (azulejos), you haven’t amounted to anything in life.

Talavera pottery remains important to the Toledo province of Spain in which Talavera de la Reina is located, but those who are considered the authentic artisans reside exclusively in Mexico’s Puebla region. There, they employ precisely the same techniques that were used in the 16th century and collect their clay only from designated areas.

Not All Are Created Equal

Moroccan Midnight coasters

The Mexican state of Guanajuato also adopted the term “Talavera,” and this is what can get confusing. Pretty, yet quickly produced, it has little to do with the highly detailed, rigorously defined process that is required from authenticity, a process that is followed only in the Puebla area of Mexico and even requires the use of very specific volcanic soils found only in that geographical region. Other key differences include using commercial colors rather than the natural pigments used in authentic More commonly, people stamp Talavera and tile designs on the lesser quality tiles, rather than meticulously hand paint them. Not all Talavera tile is created equal. Consumers beware that much of what is called “Talavera” or “Talavera style” is an entirely different level of craftsmanship from true Talavera tile with its dedication to historical legacy and extremely high standards.

Though it can now call Mexico home, the style will always represent a melting pot of cultures—from Arabic to Italian, Spanish to Chinese, and of course Mexican. It’s also an important part of the Native Trails’ product line—as it has been since the founding years in the late 1990’s. In Talavera, we see many of our company values: a commitment to the earth, to our artisans and the joy of their craft, and to traditions which unite and thrill us. We are proud to continue the celebration of this ancient art form.

The complex is located in the Fatih district of Istanbul, Turkey, along the Adnan Menderes (formerly Vatan) Avenue.

Byzantine period Edit

In 908, the Byzantine admiral Constantine Lips [1] inaugurated a nunnery in the presence of the Emperor Leo VI the Wise (r. 886–912). [2] The nunnery was dedicated to the Virgin Theotokos Panachrantos ("Immaculate Mother of God") in a place called "Merdosangaris" (Greek: Μερδοσαγγάρης ), [3] in the valley of the Lycus (the river of Constantinople). [2] The nunnery was known also after his name (Monē tou Libos), and became one of the largest of Constantinople.

The church was built on the remains of another shrine from the 6th century, [4] and used the tombstones of an ancient Roman cemetery. [2] Relics of Saint Irene were stored here. The church is generally known as "North Church".

After the Latin invasion and the restoration of the Byzantine Empire, between 1286 and 1304, Empress Theodora, widow of Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos (r. 1259–1282), erected another church dedicated to St. John the Baptist (Ἐκκλησία τοῦ Ἁγίου Ἰωάννου Προδρόμου τοῦ Λιβός) [5] south of the first church. Several exponents of the imperial dynasty of the Palaiologos were buried there besides Theodora: her son Constantine, Empress Irene of Montferrat and her husband Emperor Andronikos II (r. 1282–1328). [4] This church is generally known as the "South Church". The Empress restored also the nunnery, which by that time had been possibly abandoned. [6] According to its typikon, the nunnery at that time hosted a total of 50 women [6] [7] and also a Xenon [8] for laywomen with 15 beds attached. [2]

During the 14th century an esonarthex and a parekklesion [9] were added to the church. The custom of burying members of the imperial family in the complex continued in the 15th century with Anna, first wife of Emperor John VIII Palaiologos (r. 1425–1448), in 1417. [10] [11] The church was possibly used as a cemetery also after 1453. [10]

Ottoman period Edit

In 1497–1498, shortly after the Fall of Constantinople and during the reign of Sultan Beyazid II (1481–1512), the south church was converted into a mescit (a small mosque) by the Ottoman dignitary Fenarizade Alâeddin Ali ben Yusuf Effendi, Qadi 'asker [12] of Rumeli, and nephew of Molla Şemseddin Fenari, [2] whose family belonged to the religious class of the ulema. He built a minaret in the southeast angle, and a mihrab in the apse. [10] Since one of the head preachers of the madrasah was named Îsâ ("Jesus" in Arabic and Turkish), his name was added to that of the mosque. The edifice burned down in 1633, was restored in 1636 by Grand Vizier Bayram Pasha, who upgraded the building to cami ("mosque") and converted the north church into a tekke (a dervish lodge). In this occasion the columns of the north church were substituted with piers, the two domes were renovated, and the mosaic decoration was removed. [10] After another fire in 1782, [13] the complex was restored again in 1847/48. In this occasion also the columns of the south church were substituted with piers, and the balustrade parapets of the narthex were removed too. [13] The building burned once more in 1918, [14] and was abandoned. During excavations performed in 1929, twenty-two sarcophagi have been found. [14] The complex has been thoroughly restored between the 1950s and 1960s by the Byzantine Institute of America, [15] and since then serves again as a mosque. [13]

North church Edit

The north church has an unusual quincuncial (cross-in-square) plan, and was one of the first shrines in Constantinople to adopt this plan, whose prototype is possibly the Nea Ekklesia ("New Church"), erected in Constantinople in the year 880, of which no remains are extant. [16] During the Ottoman period the four columns have been replaced with two pointed arches which span the whole church. [17]

The dimensions of the north church are small: the naos is 13 metres (43 feet) long and 9.5 metres (31.2 feet) wide, and was sized according to the population living in the monastery at that time. The masonry of the northern church was erected by alternating courses of bricks and small rough stone blocks. In this technique, which is typical of the Byzantine architecture of the 10th century, [18] the bricks sink in a thick bed of mortar. The building is topped by an Ottoman dome pierced by eight windows. [17]

This edifice has three high apses: the central one is polygonal, and is flanked by the other two, which served as pastophoria: prothesis and diakonikon.

The apses are interrupted by triple (by the central one)and single lancet windows. [17] The walls of the central arms of the naos cross have two orders of windows: the lower order has triple lancet windows, the higher semicircular windows. Two long parekklesia, each one ended by a low apse, flanks the presbytery of the naos. The angular and central bays are very slender. At the four edges of the building are four small roof chapels, each surmounted by a cupola.

The remainders of the original decoration of this church are the bases of three of the four columns of the central bay, and many original decorating elements, which survive on the pillars of the windows and on the frame of the dome. The decoration consisted originally in marble panels and coloured tiles: the vaults were decorated with mosaic. Only spurs of it are now visible. [18]

As a whole, the north church presents strong analogies with the Bodrum Mosque (the church of Myrelaion). [19]

South church Edit

The south church is a square room surmounted by a dome, and surrounded by two deambulatoria, [20] an esonarthex and a parekklesion (added later). The north deambulatorium is the south parekklesion of the north church. This multiplication of spaces around the central part of the church is typical of the late Palaiologian architecture: the reason of that was the need for more space for tombs, monuments erected to benefactors of the church, etc. [21] The central room is divided from the aisles by a triple arcade. During the mass the believers were confined in the deambulatoria, which were shallow and dark, and could barely see what happened in the central part of the church.

The masonry is composed of alternated courses of bricks and stone, typical of the late Byzantine architecture in Constantinople.

The lush decoration of the south and of the main apses (the latter is heptagonal), is made of a triple order of niches, the middle order being alternated with triple windows. The bricks are arranged to form patterns like arches, hooks, Greek frets, sun crosses, swastikas and fans. [22] Between these patterns are white and dark red bands, alternating one course of stone with two to five of bricks. This is the first appearance of this most important decorating aspect of the Palaiologian architecture in Constantinople.

The church has an exonarthex surmounted by a gallery, which was extended to reach also the north church. The parekklesion was erected alongside the southern side of the south church, and was connected with the esonarthex, so that the room surrounds the whole complex on the west and south side. Several marble sarcophagi are placed within it.

As a whole, this complex represents a notable example [ citation needed ] of the middle and late Byzantine Architecture in Istanbul.

Top 10 Attractions and 50 Things to Do in Lisbon

This World Heritage monument is a marvel of Manueline (Portuguese Gothic) architecture. It was built in 1502, and features magnificent stonework inspired by the sea and the East, particularly in the cloisters. Paid for with the profits from the spice trade, it’s the resting place of explorer Vasco da Gama, whose tomb is found at the entrance of the church.

Lisbon’s most iconic monument rises from the river, where it served as a beacon to the many explorers who departed from this site in the 15th and 16th centuries. Also protected as World Heritage, it looks like a small castle out of a fairy tale, and is a symbol of the Age of Discovery.

Lisbon’s highest hill has been crowned by fortifications for literally thousands of years. The first ones were built by the Visigoths in the 5th century, then the Moors expanded them in the 9th century, and Portugal’s first king remodelled them in the 12th century. The medieval castle became a royal residence until the 1500s, and what stands today is the restored version of the Moorish and medieval construction. It houses a small archaeological museum, but is mostly visited for the breathtaking panoramic view of the city.

Businessman and philanthropist Calouste Gulbenkian was one of the world’s wealthiest men in the mid-20th century, and created a foundation in Lisbon to promote the arts and education around the globe. He put together one of the world’s greatest private art collections, and a museum was built next to the foundation’s headquarters. He only acquired masterpieces, so everything on display is outstanding, from paintings by old masters such as Rembrandt and Rubens, to Egyptian antiquities and unique pieces of Lalique jewelry.

Exhibitions related to modern art, architecture and technology are presented in an iconic building of curved lines that descends into the river. Even if you don’t visit the art inside, you may walk around, and even on top of, this waterfront landmark, as it serves as a viewpoint, looking out to 25 de Abril Bridge.

Lisbon’s most popular museum became even more so when it moved to a bigger building across the street from its original home. Its collection of magnificent carriages (unique in the world) is now displayed in a modern building designed by Pritzker Prize architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha, and includes vehicles dating back to the 16th century, ridden by Portuguese and other European royals.

Eastern Lisbon was transformed into a futuristic ocean-themed neighborhood when it was chosen as the site of 1998’s World Fair. It’s now home to office and apartment buildings, but also to one of the city’s greatest attractions, the Oceanarium, which puts all of the world’s ocean habitats under one roof. From there, visitors walk along the pleasant waterfront promenade towards Vasco da Gama Bridge (Europe’s longest) and the Vasco da Gama Tower (the city’s tallest building).

Ceramic tile art dates back to ancient Egypt and is found all over the Mediterranean, but nowhere else in the world did it evolve as much or as imaginatively as in Portugal. Here, tiles became more than just geometric figures decorating walls, they also depicted historical and cultural scenes to cover palaces, street signs and shops. There is only one place on the planet where you can follow the history and evolution of this art form, and that’s Lisbon’s Tile Museum. Set in a magnificent 16th-century convent, this is the city’s most beautiful museum. It’s a unique gallery with a collection of tilework that ranges from Moorish-influenced pieces from Seville to modern examples by contemporary artists. In the splendid church dripping with gold is also a series of Dutch panels, from a time when Europe started imitating Chinese ceramics.

It has paintings by masters like Bosch and Dürer, but the main reason to head to this museum is for a lesson in how the East and the West influenced each other, thanks to the Portuguese “Age of Discovery.” Highlights include Japanese screens illustrating Japan’s first encounter with Europeans as the Portuguese arrived on their ships, a monstrance made with gems brought back by Vasco da Gama, and the 15th-century masterpiece “Panels of St. Vincent” depicting Prince Henry the Navigator and other personalities of the time.

Located next to Jerónimos Monastery, this museum presents a world-class collection of modern and contemporary art. It belongs to Portuguese businessman Joe Berardo, who collected works by major European and American artists like Picasso, Magritte, Paula Rego, Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.


This massive monument is shaped like a ship with 33 people aboard, led by Prince Henry the Navigator. The other colossal sculptures are of other personalities related to the Portuguese Age of Discovery, such as explorers, poet Luís de Camões, and painter Nuno Gonçalves. Inside are temporary exhibitions and an elevator that takes visitors to the terrace at the top, which offers a breathtaking view of the neighboring monuments. Outside, on the ground, is a vast compass with a map of the world tracing the routes of Portugal's heroes of the sea.

The triumphal arch that once welcomed those arriving in Lisbon by boat, now offers visitors one of the best views of the city from the top. From the feet of its gigantic sculptures is a bird’s-eye perspective of Lisbon’s grandest square opening to the river, the cathedral, and downtown’s cobbled streets.

The most stunning view of old Lisbon can be admired and photographed from this terrace by the castle. This medieval part of the city looks more like a Mediterranean village or a Greek island than a capital city, with white church towers, domes and colorful houses tumbling down the hill towards the waterfront. In the surroundings are several cafés and restaurants with outdoor seating.

This terrace at the top of a hill was landscaped in the 1800s and is one of Lisbon’s most romantic spots. Locals and tourists take photos of the postcard view, and gaze across to the castle as they enjoy drinks from a kiosk café. It’s found next to the terminal of one of the city’s iconic funiculars, the Elevador da Glória.

A monumental wrought-iron elevator, designed in Gothic Revival style by one of Gustave Eiffel’s disciples, was inaugurated in 1902 to facilitate the climb of one of Lisbon’s hills. It connects Baixa (downtown) to Chiado and Bairro Alto at the top of the hill, but is now mostly a tourist attraction, as it also offers a panoramic view.

A pergola frames a perfect view of Alfama’s domes and rooftops descending the hill towards the river at this romantic terrace next to a small church. It’s incredibly picturesque from its two levels -- the landscaped upper level with lush bougainvillea is adorned with tile panels, while the lower level has a reflecting pool.

This promenade connects the Baixa and Cais do Sodré districts, and turns into something of an “urban beach” in the summer. It’s the favorite sunbathing spot in the city center for locals and tourists (who lie on the steps that descend to the water or on the lawn behind them), and the terrace of its kiosk-café is one of the most popular spots for drinks on the waterfront. It’s also one of the best places to catch the sunset in the autumn and winter months, when the sun disappears on the horizon on this more southern location of the city.

An abandoned factory complex dating back to 1846 became one of Lisbon’s trendiest places to be, when it started housing offices, shops, cafés and restaurants in 2008. It’s one of the top destinations for dinner throughout the week and for brunch on weekends, when it also hosts outdoor markets selling everything from locally-grown vegetables to crafts, fashion, and accessories. All of the interiors have kept their industrial architecture and vintage pieces in their décors, and the exterior is a true street art gallery.

Lisbon has one of Europe’s best design and fashion collections, and it’s displayed in the former headquarters of a bank, in the city’s main pedestrian street. There are creations by many of the world’s leading designers from the mid-1800s to the present, like Charles & Ray Eames, Le Corbusier, Philippe Starck, Chanel, Christian Dior, Versace, and Yves Saint Laurent. Most of the pieces were amassed by a local businessman, but there have also been donations, including an outfit by Tommy Hilfiger himself.

Portugal’s last royal palace was built at the top of a hill in 1795. It was to be one of Europe’s largest palaces, but was abandoned and the project left unfinished during the French invasion of Portugal and later when the country became a republic. However, the neoclassical building is grand enough, and the royal family left behind the crown jewels and a collection of decorative arts from the 18th and 19th centuries, which are displayed in the magnificent rooms.
Across the street is the royal botanical garden, laid out in 1768. Split into two levels, it has exotic trees and plants, 18th-century sculptures and fountains, and a beautiful view of 25 de Abril Bridge.

The world's largest collection of baroque tile panels, including several illustrating La Fontaine's fables, can be seen inside this monastery from 1582. Those panels were added in the 1700s, and line the cloisters and much of the interior. It’s possible to climb up to the roof, for a view over Alfama.

Lisbon’s fortified cathedral is the city’s second-oldest monument, after the castle. It’s a robust building from 1147, and most of it survived the 1755 earthquake. Its cloisters reveal archaeological remains of the city’s past 3000 years, while the treasury presents a collection of priceless sacred art.

Built in the 1500s, this was one of the world’s first Jesuit churches, with a very plain façade but with a number of extraordinarily gilded chapels inside. One of them is a unique masterpiece of European art, and said to be “the world’s most expensive chapel.” Built in Rome in 1742, using only the most precious gems (ivory, lapis lazuli, gold, silver, marble, gilt bronze, agate, porphyry. ), the chapel was shipped to Lisbon to be assembled in this church, where it can now be seen together with other side-chapels equally rich in ornamentation.

The magnificent baroque and rococo interior of this church is one of Lisbon’s most beautiful sights, but it remains a little-known treasure. It dates from 1727, and most of it actually survived the 1755 earthquake, unlike the majority of churches and everything else in the city. It’s therefore a rare example of Lisbon’s wealth up to the 18th century, with a monumental organ that’s a masterpiece of gilded woodwork and a stucco ceiling that’s considered one of the most outstanding of its kind in Europe.

A pine-shaded terrace at the top of one of Lisbon’s tallest hills is a meeting place for locals, who love to admire their city as much as tourists do. No one can resist taking a photo of the view of the castle and the rooftops below it, and stopping for a drink served from a kiosk standing in the shadow of a baroque church.

Lisbon’s favorite sunset spot is one of its most central viewpoints. It’s a terrace located close to many of the city’s most popular bars and restaurants, so it’s where many start their night out. There’s a kiosk serving drinks to be enjoyed on the amphitheater-like steps, where bohemian locals and tourists get together in a chill-out atmosphere. They’re overlooked by a sculpture of Adamastor, a mythical sea monster imagined by Portugal’s great 16th-century poet Luís de Camões.

It rivals the Santa Catarina viewpoint as the favorite sunset spot, but here there are no cafés and the view is more breathtaking. It’s a quieter viewpoint, but has become quite popular, as it offers a panorama of almost the entire city. It’s faced by a small 18th-century chapel and an image of the Virgin which gave it its name (“Lady of the Mount”).

It perfectly frames a view of the river, so Rua da Bica de Duarte Belo would always be one of Lisbon’s most photographed streets, but what makes it such a picturesque and irresistible place (and arguably the city’s most beautiful street) is the presence of a charming funicular. It has been going up and down the hilly street since 1892, connecting the Bairro Alto district to the waterfront. Its journey takes just 5 minutes, and it carries up to 23 passengers, but it’s now mostly used as a backdrop for selfies.

Lisbon’s main market since 1892 became the city’s top food destination in 2014, when it added a food hall managed by Time Out Lisboa magazine. It’s a lively place from morning to night, with stalls offering some of the most creative dishes by some of the city’s top chefs. They’re enjoyed at canteen-style communal tables inside, or outside, facing Dom Luis I Square.

The best close-up views of the landmark 25 de Abril Bridge are from the warehouses-turned-restaurants below it. They face a marina, and are the starting point of a promenade that leads to the Discoveries Monument and the many other attractions of Belém. This is a popular destination at lunch and dinner time, as well as for afternoon drinks. It’s also the departure point of sightseeing cruises. The bridge is often compared to the Golden Gate in San Francisco, but it was actually modelled after the Bay Bridge in the same city. One of the pillars (across the road from here) has a glassed observation deck at the top, and houses an exhibition explaining the mechanisms that make a suspension bridge work.

A gigantic image of Christ standing on a tall pedestal was inaugurated across the river in 1959, as a way for the episcopate to thank God for having spared Lisbon from World War II. An elevator takes visitors up to the terrace by the feet of the statue, from where there's a panoramic view of practically the entire city. From the landscaped surroundings there’s a close-up view of 25 de Abril Bridge, which stands right below.

The roof of this 14th-century church, which was Lisbon’s greatest medieval building, collapsed in the earthquake of 1755, but its Gothic arches still stand. It was never restored, to serve as a reminder of the disaster, but it remains one of the city’s most impressive monuments. The former sacristy is a small archaeological museum with an eclectic collection of treasures, from Portugal and elsewhere, including a Visigothic pillar, a Roman tomb, and eerie South American mummies.
Behind the building are the Terraços do Carmo, terraces now occupied by an open-air café and bar, offering a view of the castle and of the Santa Justa Elevator, which can also be accessed from here.

A domed church that took 300 years to complete is now the pantheon holding the tombs of Portugal’s most illustrious personalities (from 15th-century explorers, to Presidents, to legendary fado singer Amália Rodrigues). The marble interior is a fine example of baroque architecture, but it’s mostly visited for the terrace surrounding the dome, which overlooks Alfama and the river.

Inspired by St. Peter’s in Rome and Mafra Palace outside Lisbon, this royal basilica was built according to the wishes of the queen in 1790. The imposing dome stands out in the city’s skyline, and it’s possible to get a close-up view of it from the terrace, which overlooks the city. The marble interior includes a remarkable nativity scene, created by Portugal’s leading baroque sculptor. Across the street is one of Lisbon’s most delightful parks.

It’s way off the beaten path, outside the city center, but it’s worth making the effort to see this palace from 1670, as it’s a fine example of aristocratic architecture. It was influenced by the Renaissance, and has one of the world’s richest collections of decorative tiles, which can be admired inside or in the magnificent gardens.

Lisbon’s sloping “central park” offers a view of downtown Lisbon, with symmetrical box hedging pointing to the river. On one side is a beautifully-tiled pavilion which hosts special events, and on the other are small lakes and a greenhouse filled with exotic species of plants from tropical climates.

The center of Lisbon’s trendiest district is a romantic garden laid out in 1863. It’s shaded by different species of trees, including a gigantic parasol-like cedar. It’s surrounded by mansions, including the exotic Ribeiro da Cunha Palace, which is now a monumental shopping gallery. There are statues of 19th-century poets and a memorial to the victims of homophobia, as well as kiosk cafés serving refreshments throughout the day.

Inaugurated in 1998 as Europe’s longest, this bridge remains one of the largest in the world. It seems to almost vanish into the distance, and it’s possible to walk under it, following the waterfront promenade of the Parque das Nações district. There’s a park below it, where locals jog, cycle, walk their dogs, and play soccer, as very few tourists pose for selfies on the boardwalk with the bridge as a backdrop. By the promenade is a statue of Catherine of Braganza, the Portuguese princess who became the queen of England when she married King Charles II, who named the borough of Queens in New York in her honor.

The color of the pavement gave it its nickname, but this pedestrian street is officially Rua Nova do Carvalho on the map. It’s quite a small street, but is the epicenter of Lisbon’s nightlife, and the New York Times even placed it on a list of “12 favorite streets in Europe.” It hosts a street party throughout the week, mixing locals and tourists, who sit or stand outside the different bars.

Divided into five different branches, this museum tells the story of Lisbon and explains the different aspects of its culture. The main branch is an 18th-century palace that the king built for a nun (who happened to be his mistress), and features a formal garden with live peacocks and ceramic animals. That’s Palácio Pimenta, and inside it documents Lisbon’s history, from prehistoric times to the 20th century, through paintings, archaeological finds, and a scale model of the city before its destruction by the 1755 earthquake.
Another branch is the striking Casa dos Bicos, a 16th-century building covered in over 1000 diamond-shaped stones that was one of the few survivors of the earthquake. Its ground floor is an archaeological site with traces of Lisbon life from the past two millennia, while upstairs is an exhibition devoted to the life and work of author José Saramago, featuring his Nobel Prize and multilingual editions of his books.
Another famous Portuguese personality, Saint Anthony, is celebrated in another branch, next to the church with his name, built on the site where he was born (right in front of the cathedral).
A fourth branch is found in the city’s grandest square -- in the western turret of Praça do Comércio, and presents temporary exhibitions.
But if you visit only one branch of the museum make it the Roman Theater, which is an archaeological site showing the remains of what was once a sizable theater during Lisbon’s Roman occupation. Pieces unearthed during the excavations are shown in a building next door.

As the European power with the longest presence in Asia (Macau was only handed over to China in 1999), Portugal has quite a story to tell about how its culture influenced and was influenced by the East. This museum does just that, with a permanent collection dedicated to the Portuguese presence in Asia. It includes Indo-Portuguese furniture, Japanese screens, paintings, porcelain, textiles and religious artifacts. The restored 1940s warehouse it’s housed in also presents temporary exhibitions covering a variety of themes related to the different Asian cultures.

A 19th-century mansion houses one of Lisbon’s most outstanding art collections. Somehow, it remains one of the city’s top secrets, often overlooked by tourist guides. It’s the former home of a wealthy businessman, who displayed his treasures in 25 rooms, including a Rembrandt portrait and other paintings by major artists like Rubens and Tiepolo. It also presents one of the world’s largest collections of clocks, some of the first Chinese porcelain imported by Europe, a silver tea set that once belonged to Napoleon, and a marble and bronze fountain that originally stood in the gardens of the Palace of Versailles, among hundreds of other surprising pieces.

Located in the western wing of Jerónimos Monastery, this museum provides a flashback to the Age of Discovery and Portugal’s nautical history. Ancient globes, models of ships, maps and astrolabes explain the pioneering role of the Portuguese in the exploration of the oceans and in aviation, displaying the plane the made the first crossing of the South Atlantic by aviators Gago Coutinho and Sacadura Cabral in 1922. Other treasures include artifacts found in shipwrecks, the yacht and barges of the Portuguese royal family, and a wooden figure of Archangel Raphael that accompanied Vasco da Gama on his voyage to India.

If you have time for just one garden in Lisbon, make it the Tropical Botanical Garden next to the Jerónimos Monastery. Created in 1906 to show the exotic plants and trees from the Portuguese colonies, it’s now a beautiful and peaceful place to escape the crowds of tourists in the neighborhood. Busts of Africans and Asians are dotted around, and there’s a Macanese arch leading to an Oriental Garden, but there are also plants from other lands that were not colonized by the Portuguese. Giant palm trees welcome visitors, as do the peacocks, ducks, geese, swans, chickens, and other fowl that waddle around or swim on the pond.

Lisbon created one of the world’s most impressive water systems in the early 1700s, thanks to a monumental aqueduct. It’s recognized as one of mankind’s most remarkable hydraulic and engineering constructions, and its 109 arches and different reservoirs escaped the destruction of the devastating 1755 earthquake. They make up the award-winning Water Museum, and it’s possible to walk over the aqueduct’s 14 largest stone arches (the world’s tallest when they were built), rising 64 meters (210 feet) from the ground. Smaller arches, decorated with baroque tile panels illustrating human consumption of water over history, can be seen leading to the Mãe d’Água reservoir nearby, whose rooftop offers a view of the arches and of the surrounding neighborhood. Inside, it often hosts temporary art exhibitions.
Another reservoir can be visited on weekends below Jardim doPríncipe Real, while the main branch of the museum is located a short walk from behind Santa Apolónia train station, in the former steam pumping station. It preserves the iron and steel machinery in the Victorian and Neoclassical styles, considered treasures of Europe’s historical and industrial heritage.

A group of glass postmodern towers altered Lisbon’s skyline and were therefore controversial when they were built in 1985, but their shopping mall soon became the city’s favorite shopping mecca. Newer and bigger malls are now more popular, but that of Amoreiras is still a destination, as it provides access to an observation deck at the top of one of the towers. There’s a 360-degree view of almost the entire city, from the Parque das Nações district in the east to Belém in the west. The mall below has dozens of stores and an excellent food court.

Art fans will want to head to this converted convent which houses the biggest collection of contemporary Portuguese art. It’s shown in thematic and temporary exhibitions, but there are always works by the leading national artists of the 19th and 20th centuries, like Almada Negreiros, Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso, Columbano Bordalo Pinheiro, and Paula Rego.
A drink or light meal at the café on the sculpture-filled terrace is a great way to end a visit.

Lisbon’s oldest museum recalls major battles, wars and the military history of Portugal in sumptuous rooms with beautifully-painted ceilings. The room named after Vasco da Gama shows how the country conquered and defended its colonies, while another room is entirely dedicated to WWI. Elsewhere it displays one of the world’s largest collections of artillery, swords used by kings, and replicas of 16th-century armor, among a variety of other pieces. The cannon-filled courtyard features tile panels illustrating some of the most historic battles that guaranteed that Portugal remained an independent Iberian kingdom.

There are many places in the city to enjoy the abundant sunshine and the mild temperatures, but luckily there are also several beaches nearby. That makes Lisbon one of Europe’s most blessed cities, and you can have your feet in the ocean or be on your surfboard in just minutes from the center of town. There’s a long stretch of sand to the south, offering everything from lively seaside bars to surfing waves, to secluded spots and nude beaches, and then there’s the coast to the west, easier to reach, and therefore more popular with tourists. Wilder beaches of stunning natural beauty are found to the north, by Europe’s westernmost point. Most can be reached by public transportation, and will make you want to prolong your stay in the city.

A day trip to Sintra should be included in any visit to Lisbon. This fantasyland was Europe’s first center of romantic architecture, which has made it a World Heritage Site. It’s a magical place with several fairytale palaces and castles, but the must-see is the extraordinary Pena Palace, which looks like something that not even Disney could imagine.

Where to buy tiles in Lisbon

Solar Antiques

Solar Antiques is one of the best places in Lisbon to buy antique tiles. They have a vast collection of vintage tiles from the 16th to the 18th century. They also have beautiful murals although they are a bit expensive.
Address: R. Dom Pedro V 70.

Fabrica Sant’Anna

If you are looking to buy contemporary tiles in Lisbon, then Fabrica Sant’Anna is probably the best tile store to buy one. The beautiful collection of hand painted tiles is reproduced using the exact methods from the 18th century. They also have a nice collection of decorative ceramic works.
Address: Calçada Boa Hora 96.

Loja dos Descobrimentos

Loja dos Descobrimentos is a great store in the Alfama district with lots of quality hand-painted tiles. They have both traditional and classic tiles with vibrant and elegant designs. You can even have one custom made for you. They also have extensive collection of ceramic works from all over Portugal.
Address: Rua dos Bacalhoeiros 12.

Shopping for souvenirs in Lisbon? Find out what are the most authentic Portuguese souvenirs.

Tile making and painting workshops in Lisbon

If you are interested in making your own tiles in Lisbon, you can book a full day workshop and tour of the National Tile Museum here.

You can also go to Loja Dos Descobrimentos that we mentioned earlier as they also have tile painting workshops. See their website here. All you have to do is email them with a date and time that you would like to do the workshop and they’ll get back to you.

Did you enjoy learning about tiles in Lisbon? What were your favourite places? Let us know in the comments below.

I’m a freelance writer, who’s very passionate about economics and everything that is related to business. I’m pursuing a Masters Degree in Management in Portugal, where I live. I love photography, traveling and experiencing new cultures.

Located in the heart of the city of Edmonton, the capital of Alberta in Canada, the Royal Alberta Museum (RAM) opened its doors in its new location in October of 2018. The new space is 419,000 square feet — twice the size of the former museum — making it the largest museum in western Canada!

With the vast availability of Ebooks and audiobooks, reading from a physical book is becoming more and more uncommon. New technology has allowed us to have access to millions of books at our fingertips.

But, there is still something special about stepping foot inside of a library — a place that has helped mold some of our world’s greatest minds.

The story of the Portuguese tiles

Of course, no discussion of art in Portugal would be complete without paying homage to the infamous tiles (azulejos).

These patterned tiles have been, and still, commonly are, used in numerous ways in Portugal, on the façades of buildings of all types, capturing the eye of passersby with their rich colours and often impressive complexity.

The Portuguese word for tile, azulejo, comes from the Arabic azuleich, which means flat, smooth, shiny blue stone. This important feature of art in Portugal is thought to have originated among the Assyrians in the times before Jesus Christ.

Following this, the Arabs learned the technique from the Persians who had adopted a style of their own.

The art of tile painting travelled to Europe by way of the Moors, who went on to establish a factory in Seville where the first tiles were made in geometric patterns.

Once this tradition made its way to Portugal, the country developed its own style of tile painting during the 17th century.

Following the devastation of the 1755 earthquake, there was plenty of opportunities for tile painters to restore damaged homes or decorate new ones, many examples of which can still be seen in the city’s streets today.

Head in the clouds

Michael Nygard has his head in the computing clouds, suggesting that not only is cloud computing in our future, but that there’ll be many of them. He’s right.

Everyone who runs a large data center is today faced with the same set of interconnected environmental problems space, power, and heating/cooling. And these are environmental not just in the sense of tree-hugging but also in a straightforward practical sense: there is no more space, there is no more power, there is too much heat and not enough cooling. These problems were the domain of junior people a few years ago, worrying about where, physically, to locate all the new Windows boxes. Then it was middle managers trying to sort out power and HVAC issues: “If we deploy a new phone system in our building we won’t have enough power to do any upgrades in the data center,” that sort of thing. Now environmental issues are front-and-center for senior IT management and if you’re a “red-shift” kind of company, for senior corporate leadership too.

You can cloak it if you want to in green terms but businesses are faced with real operational issues that they need to address regardless of their perspective on global warming or riverine dolphins.

Alongside these environmental issues, data centers are also facing a crisis of manageability. A large enterprise data center is a staggeringly complex thing, too complicated. Also, if the truth be told, most of them are not that well run would you expect, for example, that an auto parts distributor would have great technology management skills? No, of course not, and the fact is that they probably wouldn’t want to spend the money to acquire that talent and technology even in they could their differentiation, the competitive advantage of their business, lies elsewhere. So they have a complicated, and sub-optimized, technology infrastructure.

The answer to all of these problems — Monday edition — supposedly lies in virtualization. Novell gets brought into these conversations because inevitably data center managers have a roadmap that looks something like this:

Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha

In the Portuguese city of Coimbra stand the ruins of the Santa Clara-a-Velha Monastery (Old St Clare), which was founded back in 1286.

The monastery was originally established by Dona Mor Dias as a home of the Order of Poor Clares. However, the enterprise was initially short-lived since the monks of Santa Cruz were against a new female monastic house, and the early monastery was dissolved in 1311.

Three years later, Elizabeth of Aragon (who went on to marry King Denis of Portugal and be renamed Queen Isobel) sponsored the restoration of this monastery. Construction work began in 1316, and the church was consecrated in 1330. The remains that can be seen today relate to the building works carried out during this period.

The first architect was Domingos Dominguez. He had worked on the cloisters at the Monastery of Alcobaça, and his influence is evident in the floor plan and several architectural details. In 1326, his work was continued by the architect Estevan Dominguez, who had previously worked on Lisbon Cathedral.

When King Denis passed away in 1325, Queen Isobel retired to the monastery where she carried on good works such as looking after pilgrims and supporting local hospitals. When Queen Isobel herself passed away in 1336, she was buried in the monastery grounds in a grand, Gothic-style tomb.

Having always been a model of piety and charity, Elizabeth of Aragon was beatified in 1526 and canonized in 1625.

Due to the location of the monastery on the left bank of the Mondego River, the area was constantly subjected to flooding. Over the years, the nuns raised the floor level to try and mitigate the effects of the flooding, and this worked to some extent.

Throughout its life, the monastery received donations. It was down to such generosity that the Santa Clara-a-Velha Monastery could continue its activities as the money paid for various necessary restorations.

When funds permitted, decorative elements were also added to the building. For example, in the early 16th century, the church was decorated with Sevillian tiles and several painted altarpieces.

The constant flooding necessitated the construction of an elevated pavement in the church so that the monastery could continue to function. Eventually, in 1647, life in the Santa Clara-a-Velha Monastery became impossible. It was then that King John IV declared that the building would have to be vacated.

To ensure the nuns had somewhere to go, the king ordered that a new monastery be built on a hill on the opposite bank of the river. This new structure was known as Monstery of Santa Clara-a-Nova (New St Clare).

Only in 1677 did the last of the nuns leave the Santa Clara-a-Velha Monastery. The tomb of Queen Isobel was moved to the new site, along with the tombs of other royals who had been buried there.

Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha

Following its abandonment, the swamps of the Mondego River began to claim the old monastery. Over the years, the building has been exposed to various weather conditions and stood without much attention.

In 1910, the Santa Clara-a-Velha Monastery was declared a national monument, and this led to some restoration work being carried out 20 years later.

However, it wasn’t until 1991 that substantial restoration work was carried out as part of an ambitious project under the watchful eye of the archaeologist Arthur Côrte-Real. By keeping the water at bay with a water containment curtain, real archeological advances were made.

By Alvesgaspar – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

In 1995, a sizeable archaeological campaign led by the Instituto Português do Património Arquitectónico began excavations at the monastery. Clearing the ruins of dirt and water allowed the restoration of many architectural and decorative fragments.

The excavations also helped archaeologists to understand the layout of the monastery. The church nave had two aisles, was covered by stone vaulting, and had mullioned windows in a Gothic design. There were also three rose windows. The nave’s columns were similar to those in the Monastery of Alcobaça.

Archeology teams unearthed evidence of a chapter house, a refectory, a smaller cloister, and the remains of a Gothic fountain. In addition to the monastery, ruins from Queen Isobel’s old palace, which was built nearby, have also been uncovered.

Mosteiro de Santa Clara-a-Velha plan. By Paulo sande – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

In April 2009, an interpretative center with an exhibition hall and shop was added to the former monastery at a cost of about 27 million euros. Works of art from the monastery are also on display in the Machado de Castro Museum in Coimbra.

Excavations have yielded a whole collection of items that recreate this monument and its history. As a result, visitors today can fully appreciate the architectural and artistic value of these ruins and the items they contain from the past. The interpretive center even runs cultural events.

Watch the video: Handmade tiles with Pasadena Craftsman Tile (December 2021).