The Blue Tiles of Porto, Part Two: Sao Bento

There are many ways of getting to Porto. You can take a boat down the Douro River. You can fly in to Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport from places such as London, Paris, Geneva, Lisbon or Madrid. You can drive your own car. We arrived after a five-hour bus trip from Santiago in northern Spain. You can use any of these methods or you can be one of the lucky ones who take a train and get off at the Sao Bento Railroad Station in central Porto. But if you do choose a method other than train I would like to recommend that you join the lucky ones and visit the Sao Bento Station sometime during your Porto visit. You will be in for a treat!

The vestibule of the Sao Bento Railway Station in central Porto. 

Click on any photo to see a larger version of that photo.

King John I and Philippa of Lancaster arrive for their wedding in 1387. Philippa was the well-educated daughter of John of Gaunt. Geoffrey Chaucer was one of her tutors. One of the sons of John and Philippa was Prince Henry the Navigator.

Sao Bento gets its name from a monastery that was demolished in the 1890s to make way for the railway station for which construction began in 1900. In 1905 Jorge Colacao, one of the most celebrated azuelejo artists of his time, began painting his tiles. Eleven years and 20,000 tiles later Colacao completed his project in 1916.

Some of the scenes depict famous events in the history of Portugal while others paint the story of daily rural life at harvest time around the city of Lamego in the upper Douro Valley east of Porto. There is a festive period in Lamego that starts in late August every year and ends with a great religious procession in mid-September.

It must have been quite a party!

An animal fair.

working at the watermill.

Cutting the wheat and loading on to ox carts.

Boats carrying Port wine from the Douro Valley.

Harvest time.

The Battle of Valdevez took place between the kingdoms of Leon and Portugal in the 12th century.

The right side of the same battle scene.

The battle culminated in a jousting tournament between knights selected by the two monarchs..

I’m not sure what these pitchers are for — water, wine, milk?

The procession of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios (Our Lady of Remedies) in Lamego, a city in the upper Douro Valley.

A continuation of the procession that takes place every September.

Another detail of the procession.

And still another (some women seem to be kneeling during the procession).

Another view of the Sao Bento Railway Station vestibule.

Just a few more posts on Porto and then we’ll move on to New York.


About crowcanyonjournal

I am a family man with interests in family history, photography, history and travel.
This entry was posted in Architecture, Art, History, Portugal, Travel, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to The Blue Tiles of Porto, Part Two: Sao Bento

  1. kzmcb says:

    Simply beautiful.

  2. disperser says:

    That’s a lot of tiles . . . I’m assuming they were painted after they were installed, but I can’t tell. It would seem crazy to do it the other way (paint individual tiles first).

  3. They’re beautiful and so are your images of them.

  4. Used to live in Porto. Rue de Boavista and Foz and Gaia. My favourite city with Dublin

  5. Amy says:

    So beautiful! Thank you for this special tour.

  6. Soy says:

    I went to this station a few years ago and it became the most beautiful inspiration.
    Can I source and share this photo on my blog?
    When introducing this station, I want to show people the picture together!

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