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Art: Walk of jewels

(August 2010) The fact that cobblestone is much too valuable to merely be tread on, has been a well-known fact and proven by Portugal’s pavements for centuries: e.g. it can tell of the history or entertain and add a human touch to a city. A new publication focusing on technical and artistic aspects of city planning which can be read online via the internet portal of the trade journal Rochas e Equipamentos in Portuguese or English.

„The Portuguese Pavements Handbook“ is the title of a book describing the ancient handicraft, which stems from Roman roots and also profited from Arabic influence. It deals with mining of the stone, paving, colours, costs and maintenance. The 171 page work is interspersed with numerous photos, some of which may be seen here. The last 30 pages include an English-language digest.

The publication was financed by the Portuguese General Direction for Energy and Geology. After all, the branch represents an important economic factor and its products and spin-offs were export stars. Since 1986 Lisbon entertains a school for paving and it erected a monument in commemoration in the ancient town centre of Baixa in 2006.

A printed version of the book is in the making (ISBN 978-972-8268-39-8). Keep an eye out for more information in „Rochas e Equipamentos“.

„The Portuguese Pavements Handbook“

Ernesto Matos has produced books and postcards about Portuguese Pavements worldwide. He kindly provided the photos for this report. More of his photos on a webpage.

Aga Khan Awards for Architecture

Gjirokastra, indeed, deserves the name „City of Stones“, not least because of its noteworthy cobble stoned streets and shingled rooftops.

The small city in Albania not far from the border to Greece was named UNESCO Wold Heritage Site. The conservation of its buildings stemming for the Osmanian Empire was awarded the Aga Khan Architecture prize named after a foundation of the same name for the protection of witnesses of the Muslim culture.

Aga Khan Awards for Architecture 2010

Cobblestone in Gjirokastra (1, 2)

Photos: Aga Khan Awards for Architecture