NileGuide Expert Says:
The painted ceramic tiles known as azulejos have remained an important architectural element in Portugal since the 16th century and some of the finest examples are displayed here.
Rua Madre de Deus 4
1900-312 Lisbon, Portugal
tel: +351 (0)21 810 0340
fax: +315 (0)21 810 0369
NileGuide Expert tip:
The museum is somewhat off the beaten track well to the east of the city centre. A taxi is perhaps a better option than public transport.
The Manueline cloisters of the beautiful 16th-century Convento da Madre de Deus provide the perfect setting for one of Portugal's most important cultural institutions, the National Tile Museum. The outstanding collection of decorative panels and individual tiles is the most comprehensive in the country and spans over 600 years, from early 15th-century Moorish influenced flooring tiles to those decorating Lisbon's Metro stations. Drawing on Italian, Spanish and Flemish decorative techniques, examples from the 16th century are particularly rich in colour and detail. The patterns and figurative compositions that define 17th-century Portuguese tilework will probably be more familiar to the casual visitor, the blue and white azulejos
that embellish many of the city's convents, churches, restaurants and cafés. The neighbouring Madre de Deus church should also be inspected for its dazzling gilded interior and elaborate altarpiece. Fine quality reproduction tiles and original ceramics produced by contemporary artists are among the items for sale in the museum shop.