The beautiful tradition of azulejos in Portugal

Surely you’ve seen them in many social media posts about Portugal. They are its characteristic azulejos, whose elaborate designs adorn the walls of many iconic buildings in the Portuguese country.

The word “Azulejo” comes from the Arabic “Al-zuleique” or “Al-zillij,” which means “polished stone,” as the original idea was to imitate the Byzantine and Roman mosaics.

It was the Arabs who brought the technique to the Iberian Peninsula. From the 15th century onwards, azulejos gained popularity in Portugal, “a country that adopted them in a unique way, unlike any other European country,” as noted by Visit Portugal.

The definitive boost came in the second half of the 16th century with the arrival of Flemish artisans, who brought their knowledge and experience with the new technique. Thus began the production of azulejos in Lisbon.

A magnificent example of the level reached by the artists of the time, and one of the oldest specimens that can still be seen in Portugal, is the altarpiece of Nossa Senhora da Vida (1580), currently on display at the National Tile Museum in the Portuguese capital.

“The variety of solutions and offerings in Portuguese tiles with drawings from that period has no parallel in other European productions,” says the page dedicated to the subject on Google Arts & Culture, which offers an excellent selection of images of the different types of styles that shaped the Portuguese identity of this element.

Portuguese azulejos are undoubtedly a beautiful form of ornamental art, but they also had a specific functional capacity, such as controlling the temperature in homes.

Currently, we can find azulejos not only inside and outside churches or old buildings but also in bars, in Lisbon metro stations – which feature works by Portuguese artists such as Maria Helena Vieira da Silva or Júlio Pomar – or in old train stations, such as São Bento in Oporto.

Perhaps by now you’re wondering: what can I do to see this beauty in person?

Living in Portugal, whether by remote work, with a contract from a local company, enjoying your retirement, or thanks to your Portuguese passport: all these options are possible, although some depend on your ancestors.

For example: grandchildren of Portuguese grandparents are entitled to citizenship. Documentation must be provided to prove the status of your relatives, as well as personal background; it is also necessary to demonstrate a basic level of proficiency in the Portuguese language.

You can live in Portugal as a Digital Nomad. To do this, you must prove that you have income exceeding 4 Portuguese minimum wages. An incentive is that if you maintain your legal residence in the country for 5 years, you can start your naturalization process.

One detail to keep in mind: recently, Spain and Portugal were considered among the top 10 best countries for remote work worldwide. Additionally, both countries are in the top 10 places to live as a digital nomad.

For those with stable passive incomes, there is the D7 Visa. What is considered passive income? Incomes that do not come from employment, such as property rents, investments, pensions, etc. The D7 Visa is geared towards retirees, and it is necessary to demonstrate stable passive incomes from €820 for 12 months.

Of course, there is also the option of residence by investment through the Golden Visa, which in the case of Portugal is one of the most attractive programs in Europe. It allows obtaining citizenship in just 5 years without the need to reside in the country permanently: it is enough to spend only 14 days every 2 years. And after 5 years, you can apply for a passport. In this pathway, there are investment alternatives starting from €500,000.

If you want to learn in detail about the options we have listed here, request a meeting with our team. We have experienced professionals both in Santiago de Chile and Lisbon, and we accompany you in all stages of the process. Let AIM Global advise you and make your dream of being a citizen of the world come true.

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