The art of the azulejo
Despite its somewhat out-of-the-way location, this delightful museum is well worth a visit,
presenting five centuries of decorative ceramic tiles or azulejos,
tracing the history and production of the art form.
Its collection is the only of its kind in the world, and contains a splendid array of tiles from as early as the 15th century along with displays on how they're made. It is housed in the monastic buildings of the Madre de Deus Convent, which after renovation following the Great Earthquake had its interior turned into one of the most magnificent in the city. The splendor and opulence of the chapel dedicated to St. Anthony and the chapter house is particularly impressive. Noteworthy amid the rich decoration are panels in the ceiling with gilt frames set with paintings, including portraits of King João III and his queen, Catherine of Austria. Several other glorious paintings in the church depict the life of saints, and filling the main vault are scenes from the Life of the Virgin.
The highlight of the museum is a blue and white composition of 1300 tiles, 23m (75ft) in length, of Lisbon's cityscape made in 1738, prior to the Great Earthquake, and reputedly the country's longest tile piece.
There's also a good café and a gift shop.
Those interested in tile may also enjoy the 10 most beautiful tile façades in Lisbon and the tile panels in Alfama.
See also the top 10 tiled attractions in the city.
Get FREE admission to the museum and ride Lisbon's metro, buses, and trams for free with the Lisboa Card.
How to Visit
Where: Rua Madre de Deus, 4
How: Bus 794 from Comercio Square or Taxi.
When: 10AM-6PM (Wed.-Sun.), 2PM-6PM (Tues.) (Closed Mondays)
Entrance: Free admission is possible with the Lisboa Card!