Heritage

Al-zuleique is the Arabic word that has originated the Portuguese tile and it was used by the Muslims to describe “little smooth polished stone”, during Middle Age. The way they used the hand painted tiles to decorate floors and walls pleased our kings of the time and because of that, by the end of the fifteenth century tile’s production began in Portugal. Hand painted tiles have gained a privileged place in architecture and throughout the centuries we must admit that Portugal have adopted them like no other country has. They constitute a major aspect of Portuguese architecture. They were not only used as an ornamental art form, but also had a specific functional capacity like temperature control at homes. Many tiles chronicle major historical and cultural aspects of Portugal history. The most ancient tiles pieces were found in Egyptian excavations five thousand years ago BC. Hand painted tiles have become a typical aspect of the Portuguese culture, having been produced without interruption for five centuries. There is also a tradition of their production in former Portuguese and Spanish colonies in Latin America.

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