The glories of Portugal - azulejos and manholes

This year's summer holiday was spent in Portugal, one of my favourite countries in Europe. One of the reasons I love it are the azulejos - the decorative tiles that adorn the outside and inside of many buildings depicting religious, landscape scenes or repetitive patterns. They also have a practical purpose, being easy to clean and keeping the buildings cool (by reflecting the heat). There are some useful websites about azulejos here and here.

Azulejos are possibly the equivalent (or better than) coal hole covers in fusing form and function and enlivening the streetscene.

Here are some of my favourites from Porto, the Douro valley and Lisbon. First of all, the rhythmic ones.

 And now, some pictorial ones from a railway station in Porto and the Douro valley.

I spotted no coalhole covers, although there were plenty of buildings with chimneys. So here are a few pictures of the manhole and inspection covers which seem to fit into the 'modern European' school.

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