Sao Bento railway station is one of the most unique railway stations in the world because of the huge amount of ceramic teils you have at the station walls.
The walls are decorated with motives from the portugese history and is a perfect excample that train stations do not always have to be boring concrete.
Fabulous. The walls inside the grand entrance hall are completely covered with blue tiles showing scenes from history and country life in intricate detail. In its way I found it as impressive as Sao Carmo Church. There's a shop outside, on the other side of the road opposite the station, that looks as if it just sells fluffy animals and footballs, but in fact you can also get a Portuguese SIM card there.
Railway station as a tourist attraction? Why not? Especially, when it is such a railway station as Sao Bento.
It was completed in 1916 on the site of Sao Bento da Ava Maria monastery. In 1930 its inner walls were covered with azulejos decorated by Jorge Colaco. The big panels depict various historic events like Jao I's arrival in Porto or the conquest of Ceuta. There are also other scenes showing rural festivities or various means of transport.
At the time we visited Sao Bento the tiles were covered for conservation purposes by a thin material that looked like gauze. Although we couldn't take in the whole beauty of the decorations, they still looked impressive.
I wonder if there are any cases of missing a train when a passanger admires the azulejos and forgets about the world around.
Portugal is renowned for it's 'azulejos'... hand painted ceramic tiles... and there's no finer example than in the main hall of the São Bento Railway Station in the city centre. The tiles form huge, finely detailed murals and it's worth taking some time to examine the scenes properly.
The exterior of the building is also rather grand but when I was there, construction for the new metro was taking place right outside and rather spoilt the view.
Why go to the São Bento station? Or why go to a train station for sightseeing at all?
Well, you will not regret your visit to this azulejo-filled station, the terminus of all the commuter train network of Porto. But first, admire the beautiful building itself, built strictly in an European style. Next, go inside, and be ready for not closing your mouth! Look at the top oof the ceiling and all four sides. Do you see those amazing azulejo paintings? They depict important scenes in the history of Portugal and the city of Porto itself. Each painting is pretty grandiose in terms of its size, and its artistic value also very high.
Then look to your front to the platforms. The trains on each track, then the tunnel to Campanhã at the end of the lines. Also the departure/arrival screens, for some reason, add the aesthetics of the station, with the "Porto" and "Minho" engravings on the ceiling wall, as well as a big, dark-green clock above them. You will see not only the Porto area citizens who use the stations for their work or whatever purpose, but also the tourists that come to see the same stuff as you do - and taking a lot of photos!
This is São Bento train station in Porto. Porto (Oporto in English) is home to the Port wine industry, and 15 minutes walk from this station are the Port wine cellars where free tours and samples abound. Should you ever find yourself in São Bento take a good look at the huge azulejo murals before you leave, because you'll probably too drunk to see them on the way back.
The panels here are prime examples of the romantic style in Portugese tiles. Jorge Colaço (1868-1942) was key proponent of this style and many of his works feature historical events. These panels illustrate his attempts to apply oil painting techniques to ceramics. Other examples of his work can be found at the train stations in Évora and Beja, and in the Buçaco Palace on the Azores
The station is the Sao Bento station at Pra?a de Almeida Garret. More pics in our azulejo travelogue.
There is a azulejo walking tour at the website of the Porto tourism buro:
This is the city centre's train station. It's also world heritage mainly for it hall with a unique ceiling.
The interior is absorving but be aware that many pick-pocketters make their living around there (or at least that's what is told around here...)
On the advise of the cab-driver we visited the railway station of Porto. He told us it had been a church in the earlier years. But after the englishmen came the church was closed and was now used as entrance-hall for the railwaystation.
In the large hall there are various paintings on the walls. All these paintings are telling stories and are painted in blue. These paintings have I spotted more in Porto.
See impressive 'azulejos' depicting some parts of Portuguese history. Good opportunity to observe Porto residents going about their daily commute.
Trains at this station connects to other towns further north of Porto- like Braga(with change at Nine station), Barcelos, Braganza, etc.
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