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Al-Tannur: a ceramic art shop to visit in Silves (Algarve)

This is the English version of my blog GDAMAS (Portuguese language, online since 2010). I'm still working on it. English is not my native language. Please, feel free to correct me.


I often express my affection for Silves, in the Algarve. It is in the Algarve (south of Portugal) that I live. So, Silves is naturally part of my life. 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 of 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 Historic 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.

Come:

Entrance of Al-Tannur store

Al-Tannur

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 we 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 — from inexpensive (but beautiful) to the most sophisticated ones. I bought some … and keep an eye on others. 😉

Inside Al-Tannur.

This could be just an ordinary shop in the Algarve … were it not for the surprises we discover there.

First, the artists themselves, couple Teresa and Luís, are there to welcome us with human warmth. They work in front of clients, enchanting everyone with Portuguese and Arab techniques (Arabs left powerful 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 in a ceramic, we feel her soul in the ink. I recorded part of this process and the video you’ll see below.

History and Art live together in Silves

Another nice aspect of this story is that art is not the limit. We also discover the preservation of Silves’ History — and here is the second surprise. Teresa and Luís are like two guardians of local History. So, have the pleasure of appreciating some archaeological finds there — ceramics from centuries ago.

To enhance the grandeur we feel in the atmosphere, take a close look at a 19th century organ that belongs to the Cathedral — located just a few steps from the shop — but is kept there. Do you know what’s even more beautiful about it? Clients capable of playing such an instrument may be allowed to play on that organ. This yields exciting moments. (Will you ever do that, after enjoying and buying something in the shop?)

Some paintings
I purchased some of these pieces. On the left, part of the 19th century organ (also the next three photos).
19th century organ
Old organ
Detail of the historic organ

Teresa’s soul flows with the ink on the ceramic

Historic tiles in Portugal
Archaeological finds from the area. They are not for sale.
The artist working in Al-Tannur
Teresa working.
The art in Al-Tannur
Close up of the artist working in Al-Tannur
Ink … and the soul of the artist.

Video

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.

Shopping elsewhere

It is not only at Al-Tannur that you find items created by the artists. Ideally, you should visit the shop, so you can meet them in person. But we can find some items, 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 al-tannur@sapo.pt

Location

We can easily 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.


G. DAMAS
I live in the Algarve (South of Portugal). My first fiction book, for young adults, was published in 2001 in Portuguese language — a time travel adventure that won thousands of readers. I also wrote some travel and tech books and manuals.
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