Portugal Culture

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Portugal is well known for its songs about life, otherwise known as Fado Music. This music is an important element of Portuguese culture, cultivated in the poor neighbourhoods of Lisbon in 1829 as political satire. Fado is derived from the Latin word fatum, which means fate. The melancholy singing of the Fado singers in combination with the classical Spanish guitar, or the twelve string Portuguese guitar, gives Fado its characteristic sound. The most well known Fado singer was Amalia Rodriques, who unfortunately passed away in 1999. Her house in Lisbon is currently a museum. This only goes to show just how attached the Portuguese are to their Fado music.

The Dutch have their Delft Blue, Portugal has Azulejos. These ceramic tiles are decorated with beautiful blue paintings, and can be found on both the interior and exterior walls of buildings in Portugal. The Moors brought this art with them from Persia. Façades of houses and churches are decorated with Azulejos; they are a feast for the eyes of winter visitors.
One of the most beautiful façades decorated with Azulejos is that of the Igreja Martiz de Cambra in Vouzela. If you are in the area, do not forget to go and admire this wonderful façade.

Street Mosaic
The Calçada Portuguesa, or Portuguese Street Mosaic, is a method of tiling streets so that with countless mosaic stones pedestrian areas are turned into works of art. Wave patterns are often used to lay the mosaic stones. This kind of street tiling is extremely expensive due to the intensity of the labour involved. Because of this, the maintenance of the Portuguese street mosaic was not done as well as it should have been for quite some time. Today, however, the unemployed are given the opportunity to restore these streets in groups, under the guidance of two instructors.
So, during your winter vacation, never wander through Portugal looking dead ahead. Look down once in a while and be amazed by this typically Portuguese art.