Until we found the easier back route to São Brás de Alportel via Mesquita Baixa we had always travelled on the road from Estói, which meant we had driven past this ‘public water fountain’ more times that I can count! And yet for some reason I had never really noticed it before the day we went for a walk in the Serra do Caldeirão.
Water peddlers were still part of everyday life in small towns in the 1960s, and in rural areas it is still common even today for many properties outside of urban areas to have their own water supplies. So this ‘fountain’ would have had a significant and positive impact on the lives of those who used it. I didn’t spot a date on the ‘fountain’ when I took the photographs and of course now I am back in England I cannot can’t nip round to check. However from my knowledge of other fountains in the area and looking at the tiles on this one I am guessing that this water ‘fountain’ was introduced at some point between 1920 and 1950. It’s the tiles though caught my eye when we were driving past. Despite their state of disrepair they are beautiful and capture a little bit of Portuguese transport history.
And they are not the only fabulous set of azulejos in Estói. Just round the corner from these ones are the Roman mosaics at Milreu and then there are the beautiful azulejos panels and mosaics at the palácio. Estói is a must visit for anyone who loves azulejos.