The art of Azulejos has produced stunning masterpieces during the centuries. From Spain to Brasil, from Portugal to Central America. The most beautiful azulejos of the hispanic world to admire at least once in a lifetime. 


Azulejos in Lisbon, Portugal © Javier Etcheverry

Azulejos get their name from the arabic words “al zuleycha”. It means polished small stone, and date back to early 13th century Spain. Although the method of glazing itself originated in Egypt during the 3rd dynasty, what we know to be azulejos today were created by the re-introduction of the glazing method through the gates of Constantinople (Istanbul) to Spain. Later in the 15th century, azulejos were further influenced by the Renaissance and the Italian technique of majolica.


The stunning azulejos ceiling of the Blue Mosque, also known as Sultanahmet Mosque, in Istanbul

Azulejos truly reflect the history of their designers. The Moorish cut tiles called alicatados are geometrically assembled pieces of tile. They reflect the influence of the Middle East when the glazed tiles made their first origin in Europe. The painted panels of the 15th and 16th centuries reflect  motifs of the Renaissance grotesque, wars and mythology. The 17th and 18th century tiles were popularized through the artistic design of Dutch tile painters. They chose to paint the tiles in blue and white thanks to the influence of the Chinese porcelain designs. Finally in the 18th century, the popularity of blue and white azulejos encompassed Portugal and dominated the country’s architectural design.

So a trip down the history lane of azulejos is highly recommended.

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