I often express my affection for Silves. It is naturally part of my life in the Algarve (south of Portugal), where I live. Every time I receive visitors from abroad, I spend a day trip with them in the city.
Silves’ Historic Center attracts History lovers. The Cathedral, the Castle, the Turret of the City Gate, among other sites, are an irresistible invitation. At some point in the day, we can take a break at Restaurant Café Inglês. If your trip happens in August, you may have more intense experiences by being part of the famed Silves Medieval Fair.
At the heart of the Historical Center, a few steps from the Cathedral, we find a little treasure: the AL-TANNUR Ceramic Art Shop/Atelier. I invite you to visit this place now with me.
Art, History, and kindness
Al-Tannur is physically small but becomes a giant when we better understand what its interior stands for.
Ceramics featuring art paintings immediately get our attention. I like the tiles especially. How can one not fall in love with that? Portugal, this country that I love so much, is world widely famous in tile arts.
There are items for all tastes and pockets — from inexpensive (but beautiful) pieces to the most sophisticated ones. I bought some … and keep an eye on others. 😉
This could be just an ordinary shop in the Algarve … were it not for the surprises we discover there.
First, the artists (and proprietors) themselves, couple Teresa and Luís, are there to welcome us. They work in front of clients, captivating everyone with Portuguese and Arab techniques (Arabs left strong influences in the Algarve because of invasions centuries ago).
We realize they work much for love, not for money only. For example, when Teresa slides the brush over a ceramic, we feel her soul in the ink. I recorded part of this process, and the video you’ll see below.
Another pleasant aspect of this story is that art is not the limit. We also discover Silves’ History’s preservation — and here is the second surprise. Teresa and Luís act as two guardians of local History. So, have the pleasure of appreciating archaeological finds there — ceramics from centuries ago.
To enhance the magnificence we feel in the atmosphere, take a close look at a 19th-century organ that belongs to the Cathedral — located a few steps from the shop — but is kept there. Clients capable of playing such a precious and delicate instrument may be allowed to use that organ. This yields exciting moments (could you play the organ after buying something in the shop?).
Here’s my short video.
I call your attention to one detail. Tourists should not come in just to use cameras. Respect the shop. My photos and video were taken under their permission.
It is not only at Al-Tannur that you find items created by the artists. Ideally, you should visit the shop to meet them in person. But we can find some things, for example, in the store inside Silves Castle, a few meters away.
It is even possible to buy remotely. Get in touch with them: +351 282 445 162 or firstname.lastname@example.org
We can quickly locate Al-Tannur. It’s in the most popular area of the Historic Center. Use the Cathedral as a reference.
To make your life easier, find it now on Google Maps.
Have a nice day in Silves. And … who knows? … maybe you’ll have two new friends: Teresa and Luís.
» I live in the Algarve (South of Portugal). My first fiction book, for young adults, was published in 2001 in the Portuguese language — a time travel adventure with thousands of readers. I also wrote books and guides about travel and technology. Screenplays are my greatest passion.
» This is the English version of my blog G. DAMAS (Portuguese language, online since 2010). English is not my native language.
[ More / Contact ]