Eduardo Nery. Painel de azulejos, 1987–91 estação de metropolitano do Campo Grande, Lisboa.

What is The Art of Azulejo, The Painted Tiles

Regia Marinho
4 min readSep 5, 2021


Azulejo is the Portuguese and Spanish word for painted tiles.

Azulejo or Tile is a thin piece of ceramic, usually square, in which one side is glazed, resulting from the firing of a coating commonly known as enamel, which becomes waterproof and shiny.
This shiny face can be monochromatic or polychromatic, smooth or embossed.

I love the monochromatic in white and blue, the old ones also others with more contemporary style.

Azulejos or Tiles are mostly used in large numbers as an element related to architecture in the interior or exterior surfaces or as an isolated decorative element.

The ceramic tiles were brought to Portugal by Moorish invaders from North Africa and were quickly integrated into Portuguese architecture.

Spanish beginnings.

The Moors originally introduced Azulejos to the Iberian Peninsula in the 13th century, and the term stems from the Arabic word az-zulayj, which means “polished stone”. Although the Moors controlled much of the Iberian Peninsula at the time, the tiles were finally formally introduced by the Spanish in the 15th century.

Azulejos became a form of art in and of themselves, and are still widely used today.

They have been used in many ways in Portugal.

Azulejos are found on the interior and exterior of churches, palaces, houses, schools, and restaurants, bars.

Also found in railways or subway stations.

In a very contemporary style on the wall of the subway station of Cais do Sodre.

Blue repeated panel in a painterly style at the subway station Cais do Sodre.

“Interessante como os portugueses usam a sua tradicional arte em azulejos azuis e brancos com temas modernos. Pessoalmente prefiro os azulejos com os temas antigos, mas sei apreciar o “moderno” (ou como se diz na Bahia: o “muderno”…)” Petronio L.

Azulejos are an ornamental art form, but also had a specific functional capacity like temperature control when used inside or outside buildings.



Regia Marinho

I write about ideas, technology, the future and inspire the world through art. Artist. Civil engineer.