Azulejos de Lisboa
The tiles that line the walls of Lisbon tell the tale of the city and of Portugal. These tiles were once perfectly ordered and neat, but time has designs of its own. It has sought to destroy some and gently wear away at others. Some tiles that were lost could not be replaced. In such places, rather than remove all the tiles and start again, the owners of the buildings simply replaced them with other tiles. This has created a complex patchwork, all the more beautiful for the story it tells.
Portuguese tiles, known as azulejos, adorn the inside and outside of almost every home in Portugal. Although introduced to Iberia by Moors, the fashion continued after they left. The Moors restricted themselves arabesque geometric patterns of triangles, squares, and diamonds, probably because many of them belonged to the Sunni brach of Islam which prohibited images of living things.
Portuguese and Flemish artists began to produce tiles in Lisbon in the 16th Century. Blue and yellow were the favorite color combination and tiles depicted mostly floral patterns or religious scenes. The ever expanding Portuguese empire provided increasingly more exotic themes and colors.
Towards the end of the 17th Century the fashion changed and blue tiles became popular. This was probably to to the craze for blue and white porcelain from China, that was being imported into Europe at this time. This association with blue tiles tempts many to think that the word azulejo comes from the Portuguese word for blue (azul), but it is in fact much older and has its origins in Arabic. - 8 minutes ago