Why is Graça so special #II – Tiles, Mercado do Forno do Tijolo

To day the summer holiday officially finished. After being closed for 6 weeks, our local swimming pool opened this morning. Or, was supposed to…

I am DESPERATE to get back to my normal life with my 1,000 to 2,000 m morning swim. My ONLY exercise. So I was there 15 minutes before 8 am where the pool opens just to find the gate closed.

The pool was flooded???


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Lisbon has the most amazing tiles. In our opinion the most beautiful and interesting of them are in Graça

How often do you stop and take the time to look at your everyday surroundings?

I never do it.

Because of the flooding of the swimming pool I had the time. But I definitely wasn’t in the mood to sightseeing in Graça. I was angry or rather – disappointed. I had been looking forward to my morning swim for weeks.

I don’t know why – but when I climbed the stairs from the Swimming pool to the gate to the Mercados at Rua Damasceno Monteiro, I stopped for a while – and without knowing it I glanced at the tiles around me…

I have of course seen them before – but never as I did this morning.

They are amazing. Not only do they tell people that they are entering the local market…. you can do that in writing. By using the old tile tradition and illustrating the market with the old Sellers that used to bring their products to Graça they give us locals a chance to remember the times before the supermarkets and hypermarktet.´That we still have them in Lisbon… and that you find the sellers less than 100 meter away. I guess that what was what the dad told his young son, when they stopped next to me and looked…


Not only are the tiles of the sellers pleasant to look at – they serve a purpose

The tiles are on the stairs that leads up to Graça from the  Mercado do Forno do Tijolo – a part of town with ugly concrete houses from the 60’ies and 70’ies. While the walls of all these ugly houses are covered with graffiti, the walls with these beautiful illustrations are clean and white, and has been like that for at least the two years I have walked by them… and longer, I’m sure.

Guess it must be because the street artists consider the tile pieces as works by a street artist colleague – they show respect.

Any way – these Tile Works are one of the many things in Graça that you never really notice… they are just there to make your daily life pleasant.

One more reason why Graça is so special.



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