National Tile Museum (Museu Nacional do Azulejo)

A museum dedicated to Portuguese tiles, or azulejos, showcasing the history and artistry of this traditional craft.

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The National Tile Museum (Museu Nacional do Azulejo) in Lisbon

The National Tile Museum (Museu Nacional do Azulejo) in Lisbon is a must-visit attraction for anyone interested in the history and art of tile-making. Located in the historic district of Madragoa, this museum showcases an extensive collection of Portuguese tiles dating back to the 15th century. As you explore the museum, you'll discover intricate designs, vibrant colors, and a glimpse into the country's rich cultural heritage.


The History of Tile-Making in Portugal

Before diving into the exhibits, let me give you a brief overview of the history of tile-making in Portugal. The art of creating tiles has been around for centuries, with the first known examples dating back to the Moors in the 8th century. Over time, the technique was refined and passed down through generations, resulting in the exquisite pieces you'll see here today.


The Azulejo Collection

The star of the show is undoubtedly the azulejo collection, which features over 10,000 tiles that cover everything from religious scenes to everyday life. You'll see stunning examples of glazed ceramics, intricate mosaics, and even a few rare pieces from other countries like Spain and Italy.


The Gothic and Renaissance Influences

As you make your way through the galleries, keep an eye out for the Gothic and Renaissance influences that are woven throughout the exhibits. You'll notice how the intricate designs and ornate details reflect the styles of these artistic movements, adding another layer of depth to your understanding of Portuguese culture.


The 18th-Century Room

One of the standout rooms in the museum is the stunning 18th-century room, which showcases an impressive array of tiles adorned with floral patterns and mythological creatures. This is a great opportunity to see how the art form evolved over time, incorporating new techniques and themes.


The Contemporary Exhibits

While the museum is focused on historical tiles, there are also a few contemporary exhibits that showcase the modern interpretation of this ancient art form. These pieces are sure to surprise and delight, offering a fresh perspective on an age-old tradition.


The Museum's Architecture

As you explore the museum, take note of the beautiful architecture that houses these incredible tiles. The building itself is a work of art, with intricate stone carvings and soaring ceilings that add to the overall experience.


The Museum Shop

Before you leave, be sure to stop by the museum shop, which offers an extensive selection of tile-related items, from replicas of the museum's exhibits to handmade ceramics created by local artisans. This is a great place to pick up unique souvenirs or gifts for loved ones back home.