Posts Tagged ‘Portuguese pavement’


Here are some sidewalks from the picturesque village of Sintra.

Portuguese pavement in Sintra


Another use of Portuguese pavement


The disappearing sidewalk of Sintra



Stepping on Portuguese pavement in Lisbon is like eating cheesesteak in Philadelphia, or drinking Starbucks coffee in Seattle– it’s experiencing a creation in its original environment. I was overwhelmed by the sheer variety and quantity of Portuguese pavement I came across in Lisbon. Here’s an overview.

The wave pattern is a classic:

Praca da Figueira

Padrao dos Descobrimentos in Belem

 Portuguese pavement can be found on the streets as well as on sidewalks. Here’s one interesting use:


A geometric design on a side street:

Portuguese pavement has both form and function. At one extreme, it can be thought of as a tool of artistic expression, exemplified in this plaza in Belem:


Here’s a practical application of Portuguese pavement– 84 and 86 are the building numbers, and Tabacos is a reference to the product sold by the store next door. The assumption is that the store  will continue operating for the long haul– otherwise etching the product name into the pavement would not be very practical.

Portuguese pavement is one of my favorite types of sidewalk.  I think it’s because Portuguese pavement has both function and style. In Sao Paulo, Portuguese pavement is seemingly everywhere.

The Wave. (photo courtesy of V.)


Alternating stripes. (Photo courtesy of V.)


More Tetris. (photo courtesy of V.)

From red to black. (photo courtesy of V.)


A clash of styles. (photo courtesy of V.)

The red ruler. (photo courtesy of V.)

This one is in some need of upkeep.

Even the bathroom got into the act. (photo courtesy of V.)

Portuguese pavement usually consists of stylized patterns that look cool but don’t resemble anything in nature (or only have a vague resemblance). In Curitiba, I saw a rare example of a sidewalk inspired by nature.
The tree depicted in this Portuguese pavement is a type of pine that is native to Curitiba and its surrounding region. This distinctive pine has many names, including Pinheiro do Parana, Curi, Curiuva, Pinheiro-Araucaria, and Pinheiro Sao Jose.
An interesting side note is that the word “Curitiba”  is derived from the Tupi-Guarani indigenous words “curi” and “tiba.”  “Curi” means pine, and “tiba” means abundant, so Curitiba means a “place of abundant pines.”  The Tingui tribe of the Tupi-Guarani nation were the first settlers of this region of Brazil.

In April 2010, Brasilia celebrated its 50th birthday as a city. When Brasilia was conceived, car was king. Even today, there are sections of the grand Monumental Axis (the equivalent of the National Mall in Washington DC) where there are no sidewalks for pedestrians. Along streets that lack  sidewalks, pedestrians have forged dirt paths.

Sidewalk leading to the Congresso Nacional (National Congress).

A dirt path near the Catedral Metropolitana (Cathedral of Brasilia).

Sidewalk-- and free curb-side parking-- along the Monumental Axis.

Sidewalk market near the Cathedral of Brasilia.

Public trash bin

Public space recycling

Sidewalk in a neo "Portuguese pavement" style. (The more traditional Portuguese pavement style is a tapestry of many small stones, whereas this sidewalk has long, thin pavers).

Portuguese pavement and sewer manhole cover.

manhole cover for a stormwater pipe (courtesy of Tia Mari)

stormwater manhole cover


(courtesy of M.)

another stormwater manhole cover

triangular mahhole cover (courtesy of M.)