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"Admiring the work of the pavement artists" Calçada - Portuguese Pavement Tip by ptitetoile


It was in 1863 that Lisboa decided that their sidewalks would be built by artisans. It was not enough for the city to cover the pavements were people walked. It was essential to make them beautiful.
Each of the stones set on the Lisboa ground was individually prepared. The true artisan – the pavement artist– sets the stones on the sidewalk, using a pointed hammer to break the stone to adjust the sides. It is also the pavement artist who accomplishes the designs made of black and white stones. And these artistic designs of the Lisboa sidewalks have become an heritage of the city.


After the design is conceived, a mould is produced which will serve as the bases for the placement of the stones. This mould is reproducing the drawing at the real scale.
The technique used by the pavement artists to break each stone demands expertise and care. The pavement artist holds the stone on one hand, curved as a shell. On the other he holds the pointed hammer and hammers until chips fly from the stone. (As you can see on the picture!) In some cases, the stones are broken into hexagonal shapes, and others into the shape of shells. But, on the sidewalks of Lisboa you may discover stones shaped as cylinders, lozenges and triangles or even semi-circles.

Address: Several to be found in Lisboa
Directions: Located throughout the city.

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Jun 16, 2004
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