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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

You’ll be floored by pavements in Lisbon

“Keep in mind to search for on the stars and never down at your ft,” suggested well-known scientist, Stephen Hawking, on encouraging humankind to be curious. The exception could be round Lisbon the place stars – in addition to flowers, rosettas and ships – are embedded as mosaic-like designs and motifs within the metropolis’s cobbled pavements and plazas.

Credit score: Jamie Brown

As you step throughout these stunning patterns and descriptions, take into account Portugal’s first “creative” pavers – prisoners. In 1842, underneath the orders of Eusebio Furtado, a army engineer and the governor of arms at Castelo de Sao Jorge, the shackled prisoners lay native stones – white (limestone) and black (basalt) stones – in a zigzag design within the citadel grounds. This was a departure from the plain, “common” pavements of the interval; cobbled areas of some sort had existed for the reason that fifteenth century underneath the orders of King Manuel I. The ingenious design was Furtado’s – he seemingly drew on Roman mosaics and Portugal’s Moorish ornamental azulejos (tiles) – and the ”calcada artistica Portuguesa″ (creative pavement) was born.

In accordance with historic newspaper articles, the citadel’s design innovation created a stir; curious locals made pilgrimages to the citadel to see the sample. Quickly after, the municipality employed Furtado to design a paving configuration for the Praca do Rossio. Prisoners undertook this work, beginning in August 1848 and finishing it in December 1849. The outcome was unbelievable – 8712 sq. metres of a placing wave sample design, often known as mar largo (vast sea) in Portuguese.

The calcada artistica Portuguesa unfold to different squares, streets and plazas round Lisbon – together with Avenida da Liberdade, Largo de Camoes and Praca do Municipio – and different Portuguese cities. Within the twentieth century, they appeared in Portuguese colonies resembling Mozambique, East Timor and Macau, though probably probably the most photographed instance is in Brazil – the wave motif on the Copacabana Seaside promenade, or Calcadao (the phrase being the superlative of “calcada”).

Rossio Square, Lisbon. Portugal’s famous pavements were original layed by prisoners.

Rossio Sq., Lisbon. Portugal’s well-known pavements had been authentic layed by prisoners.Credit score: iStock

Again in Lisbon, the custom continues in the present day with lots of of examples of geometric and figurative patterns that includes within the pavements. Don’t miss the summary face of Portugal’s well-known poet, Fernando de Pessoa in Rua Garrett, and the small mouse on the entrance to the Rato Metro station.

This custom could also be a dying artwork, nonetheless; solely a handful of pavers (calceteiros) stay. It’s exhausting work, and requires creativity and dexterity to chop and lay the designs. In accordance with the Calcada Portuguesa Affiliation, 400 pavers labored in Lisbon in 1927. Lately, there are lower than 20, and never all are lively. To deal with this, a calceteiro college in Lisbon trains present and potential pavers.

In your wanderings, you’ll want to pay homage to the 2 bronze calceteiros in Praca dos Restauradores, and uncover the town’s many designs. Oh, and maintain your eyes to the bottom.

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