You’ve heard of azulejos, yes? In Portugal it’s almost impossible to avoid tiles. They adorn buildings old and new and were originally a means of regulating temperatures in homes. Azulejos are normally seen in their blue and white form and many churches are decorated with tiled panels, telling stories of the saints.
I’ve known of the existence of the Tile Museum for a number of years but, as it is located on the outskirts of Lisbon, had never been. On my recent visit to the city I was determined to get there. It’s not difficult. You can get a bus from the centre which stops right outside the museum, on Rua Madre de Deus. The building itself is a good part of the attraction. It incorporates the convent of Madre de Deus, which dates back to 1509. Cloisters surround a central courtyard and the museum rises three floors around it. (don’t worry- there is a lift if you need it, or you can take it slow)
Of course, the star of the show is the tile collection, and it is quite amazing. From 16th century to present day, the tile panels weave a spell, including a 40 metre Lisbon panorama from 1730, on the top floor of the museum. I hope my photos will give you some idea. The church can be viewed on 2 levels and is a restored masterpiece of gilded woodwork, fine paintings and azulejo panels.
Finally, there is a beautifully tiled restaurant with an excellent range of food, or you can dine in a leafy courtyard. The website will give you all the details you need regarding opening hours and access. Please do go and enjoy “Museu Nacional do Azulejo.”:http://www.museudoazulejo.gov.pt/en-GB/TheMNAz/ContentList.aspx