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Seen whilst wandering the streets of the beautiful Portuguese city of Evora, a staircase lined with azulejos.

Azulejo, from the Arabic al zellige, is a form of Spanish and Portuguese painted tin-glazed ceramic tilework. Azulejos are found on the interior and exterior of churches, palaces, ordinary houses, schools, and nowadays, restaurants, bars and even railways or subway stations. They were not only used as an ornamental art form, but also had a specific functional capacity like temperature control in homes.

Azulejos still constitute a major aspect of Portuguese architecture as they are applied on walls, floors and even ceilings. Many azulejos chronicle major historical and cultural aspects of Portuguese history.

The word azulejo is derived from the Arabic al zellige, meaning "polished stone" because the original idea was to imitate the Roman mosaics. This origin shows the unmistakable Arab influences in many tiles: interlocking curvilinear, geometric or floral motifs. The craft of zellige is still in use in the Arab world in two main traditions the "Egyptian Zalij" and the "North African Zellige", the latter being the most famous.

(Source: Wikipedia)

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Additional Photos by Stephen Nunney (snunney) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 10649 W: 63 N: 29870] (130965)
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