Portugal is a country filled with beauty at every turn. With its majestic tall buildings and quaint towns, it’s certain any tourist will find more than enough to please their eyes. One thing that Portugal is specifically known for its calçada Portuguesa, or Portuguese pavement, which conspicuously stands out from the rest of the architecture around it. This is due to the wondrous art shapes and images that they consist of which vary from diamonds to roses, depending on the city where they are located. Luckily, these cobbled streets can be observed in almost every city in Portugal, which can save the hassle of transport.
Some of the most interesting Portuguese pavements are located in Lisbon, where they are present in almost any public space. A motif that appears constantly as you walk down the artistic streets of the city is that of endless dark waves. This is a design that compliments the limestone, which is the material used to construct them, by creating the illusion of an undulating shiny ocean. The shapes delight the eyes almost instantly as the grander size of the pavements inspires astonishment at first sight, a feat worthy of applause and attention in itself.
There are many other of these mosaic pavements laid across the country with their own shapes and patterns. Some are even made out of basalt as well, but streets constructed of such rocks are located in certain spots like the volcanic islands of Madeira and the Azores. It is very common to see a black and white colored calçada, and there are some that make an exception and add a tint of red from the basalt. The pavements require precise craftsmanship in order to make the mosaic patterns come to life, as each limestone has to be laid diagonally with a gap no bigger than 2 mm.
Creating these pavements definitely requires great skill. Unfortunately, it is a dying profession due mainly to the low wage that it pays and the long time that is required to make them. As a result, future pavers are losing interest in the cobblestone art. With the high cost that it takes Portugal to maintain the pavements, some are at risk of disappearing and being replaced by normal concrete. Another reason for the replacement of the Portuguese cobblestone roads is that they can be extremely dangerous to walk on, especially on rainy days when the limestone gets slippery and accidents are prone to occur.
One doesn’t have to travel to Portugal to see these bewildering mosaic streets since they can also be found in other parts of the world like Brazil. They are equally eye catching and many contain patterns and images unique to the pavements that reside in their country of origin. The materials that make them allow for their beauty to be savored during daytime as sunlight reflects effortlessly off the pavements. With admirable art patterns to step on, and Portuguese souvenirs inspired by them, the calçada Portuguesa is something that Portugal knows is worth preserving.