19 November 2009

In Black and White Stone: Calçada Portuguesa

Comprised of small black basalt and white limestone cobbles Calçada Portuguesa, or Portuguese pavement can be found throughout Portugal’s plazas and walkways. The mosaics often reflect their maritime history with stylized ships, waves and sea creatures. Originating in the Middle East and brought to ancient Greece and Rome, the craft was exported beyond Portugal’s mainland. In the Azorean archipelago, the volcanic islands were rich with basalt but limestone had to be imported. This resulted in a black field with white pattern whereas on the mainland it was reversed. Examples of Calçada Portuguesa can also be found in the former colonies such as Brazil and Macau. The future of the art and existing mosaics is uncertain as very few calceteiros or craftsmen are left and materials are scarce.


  1. Dear Kendra,

    I really like the photograph of the "Calcada a Portuguesa" with the black high hills. I am finalizing the publication of a manuscript called "La Belle de Porto" (The Porto Beauty). It is a series of 10 love stories each told by a different woman. I found your image which could be a great fit for the cover. Would you consider letting me use it? I would mention your name on the cover of course. Please let me know. Kind regards, Vanessa Barros Jones

  2. Hi Vanessa,

    I'm sorry I am just seeing your comment. What an exciting project! Unfortunately I can not find where I got that image from I usually took them from Wikimedia but now I can not find it. I am always careful to use photos that are not restricted. Best, Kendra

  3. Hello Vanessa & Kendra you can do a reverse image search using TinEye or Google. I'll come back in a moment with a bit more info! :)

  4. TinEye Reverse Image Search:
    and found no results there. So then I did a reverse image search on google. Here's how to do it yourself:
    once you upload the image url and get the results click on the all sizes and you get copies (with links... just lick on the pictures) of all instances of the image... here are the results I found:

  5. And Kendra, I just watched a very interesting programme about Calcada Portugesa and went to google it .... thanks for the very interesting article! I'd love to be able to do something like this for our patio in our garden here in London! :)


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