Portuguese architecture

  • Portuguese architecture

    Sé Velha Cathedral is Something Old While Sé Nova is Something “New”

    At 900 years old, the Sé Velha cathedral is one of the oldest structures in modern-day Portugal. Likewise, Sé Nova is relatively new, being only 400 years old. The city of Coimbra, Portugal, is chock-full of history. It has been a pleasure to get to know some of that history. Take today, for example. A group I’m involved in, The Curious Knights of Coimbra, did an excursion to Sé Velha (old cathedral) and Sé Nova (new cathedral). Let me tell you about this fascinating history. Sé Velha, formally known as the Cathedral of Santa Maria de Coimbra The Cathedral The old cathedral dates from the 12th Century with the cloister…

  • Portuguese architecture

    Azulejos: A Brief History of the Tiles of Portugal

    Visitors to Portugal are apt to notice the stunning tiles around the country.  They are decorative, they are historic, and they tell a story.  And I would like to tell you a bit of that story now. When Did the Tiles First Appear in Portugal? Azulejos first appeared in Portugal back in the 13th Century when the Moors invaded the Iberian peninsula.  The term “azulejo” comes from Arabic and means “small polished stone.”  The first tiles were plain earth tones cut into simple geometric shapes. Originally, the tiles imitated Byzantine and Roman mosaics.  Some of the earliest production of tiles was in Seville, Spain.  Here, artisans glazed the tiles, cut…