When we’re charmed by a place on our travels, we have a hard time leaving. It didn’t take long for us to feel that Cascais had become one of those special places for us. So, we were faced with a dilemma: stay in Cascais for the day or depart for a quick trip to Lisbon?
We reasoned it was only a day, and we’d be coming right back to Cascais – so why not?
We locked up our historic little AirBnB house, and Beth took one more photo of Joe waiting to go.
Every time we turned the corner by the nearby house we glanced upward and smiled at the little boy looking down at us.
National Tile Museum
Long before we arrived in Portugal, we knew we wanted to visit the National Tile Museum in Lisbon. What better place to view tiles over a span of 500 years? Tiles are the national art of Portugal.
Many of the early tiles showed the influence of the Moors who occupied Portugal from the 8th through the 13th centuries.
The word for tile in Portuguese is azulejo, derived from the Arabic word azzelij, meaning “small polished stone”. Ceramic tiles are glazed on one side.
We were drawn to tiles of simplicity in design and color in the earlier periods. In the beginning they were often used for pavers and only later for wall decoration. During the Renaissance, tiles took on a more figurative look.
We thought we had finished our tour when a guard motioned to us to climb one more flight of stairs to see the best work of all.
In the early 1700’s a grand, sweeping tile panorama of Lisbon was completed. In 1755 a major earthquake devastated the city. The tile panorama became an historic record for how Lisbon looked before the earthquake.
The museum had small placards that pointed out important buildings in the early 1700’s and what happened to them in the earthquake. The Carmo Monastery, shown in this photo, had been built in 1389 and was destroyed in the earthquake. The church was in ruins and never rebuilt.
The National Tile Museum was well worth a visit, but it felt like “coming home” to return to Cascais at the end of the day.
Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
Pingback: Snapshots from the western Algarve | simpletravelourway
okay, I can see choosing tiles over sardines (but just by a smidgen)
Joe was intent on getting lots of sardines but as it turns out it was an off year according to a restauranteur so Joe had to wait till we moved on from Cascais to Lagos. Then he had his fill. For me – tiles will always come before sardines (except the chocolates wrapped up to look like sardines and sold in the little tins. Cute!)
You were wise to get your sardines by chocolate – Joe probably had to wade through a lot of bones, like me.
The Portuguese tiles and museum looks wonderful, thanks for taking us along. That final exhibit with the historical Lisbon mural looks especially fascinating, how fortunate to have this bit of history and art from the pre-earthquake days.
You do such a great job of selling Cascais. It’s firmly at the top of our list! We loved the Tile Museum and are so glad you made that a priority to see in Lisbon as it’s so unique. The panoramic view of pre-1755 Lisbon is really astounding, isn’t it? Anita
Right, our photo of that panorama barely hints at its scope.
I am sure that you made the correct decision ss there cannot ne too many tile museums in the World?
Portuguese tiles and ceramics in general are lovely to see, so an entire museum would be great to visit!