Portuguese craftsmanship

The fame of the Portuguese people lies not only in their daring spirit that led to the Golden Age of Discoveries, but also in their creativity and knowledge in different fields like ceramics, prints, embroideries, leather that all reflect the Portuguese craftsmanship. The diversity in styles and colors, characteristic for this part of Europe combined with the finest techniques (traditional or modern ones) impress the eyes of the tourists.

Handcrafts of Minho

Probably the most known Portuguese region for its fine tradition of handicrafts is Minho. Located in the north-western part of Portugal, Minho is the place where even the most demanding customers can find something to suit their own tastes. From the richly colored embroideries that are usually displayed during the annual festivals, to the different potteries and decorative objects, Minho is surrounded by a medieval and magical atmosphere. Handicrafts workshops are opened for those who are interested in discovering the craftsman’s secrets and even trying to create an object, build it with their own hands. Popular for the clay figurines (depicting all kind of imaginary figures) and also unusual toy whistlers, displayed during every weekly market, the historical city of Barcelos is definitely a city to be visited, especially during festival times, when the atmosphere of medieval times can be traced at every corner. Among the most representative pieces created in this area is the brightly colored Barcelos Cock (Galo de Barcelos), which is actually a symbol for the entire country.

Azulejos tiles

The Portuguese word Azulejos describes the decorated and vitreous tile that extended its practical use, becoming a subtle form of the Portuguese artistic spirit. The history of Azuleros begins in the sixteenth century when enameled tiles coming from the Arabic regions started being used frequently in covering walls. Nowadays, almost every house in Portugal has a piece of Azulejos at the entrance, mainly blue, describing all kind of landscapes, geometrical forms or religious symbols. Others prefer more modern types of Azulejos decorated with amusing slogans. Those who are interested in the history and also in the traditional techniques of producing Azulejos tiles can even visit the National Museum of Azulejos, located north of Lisbon, near Parco de Nacoes. Depending on how old the tile is or how complicated the model, one piece of Azulejos tile can vary from a few euros to hundreds of euros, but I can assure you it is worth it.

Madeira embroidery

The beauty and craftsmanship of the Portuguese embroideries has its roots in the fine mixture of colors and models and especially in the skills and creativity of the artist. Those who appreciate these handmade masterpieces, know that Madeira embroideries are among the most exquisite and delicate of its kind. From monochrome to over-linen designs, embroidery can take the shape of the most sophisticated tablecloths or handkerchiefs. The history of Madeira embroidery began in the nineteenth century, when this elegant piece of art was characterized by a garland model with various eyelets or decorations, manually sewed on different kind of clothes or households items.

Whether you prefer embroideries or Azulejos tiles, or maybe, Minho handicrafts, one things is for certain, Portuguese craftsmanship objects represent the perfect souvenir for you or for the loved ones after a wonderful holiday.

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