Lonely Planet Writer

Tourists are flocking to see this mind-boggling optical illusion in Portugal

Visitors to Loures in Portugal have been flocking to check out an outdoor mural that gives off an incredible optical illusion. French street artist Astro painted the outside of a residential apartment block in the Portuguese city, which is situated north of Lisbon, in a way that makes it look like a tunnel is running through the entire building.

Astro's optical illusion wall in Loures, Portugal: Image: Astro
Astro’s optical illusion wall in Loures, Portugal: Image: Astro

Astro’s abstract art mixes curves, calligraphy and dynamic shapes, and his work has been seen at festivals all over the world. This particular gigantic three-dimensional optical illusion artwork was erected as part of a public urban art initiative, Loures Arte Publica, that recently took place in the municipality, with other offerings from national and international artists ranging from graffiti and street art to photography and sculpture. Astro’s creation was comprised of various layers of blue geometric design that were optically oriented to appear as if a tunnel was running through the apartment block.

A street art mural by Mariana Patacas in Loures, Portugal. Image: Loures Arte Publica
A street art mural by Mariana Patacas in Loures, Portugal. Image: Loures Arte Publica

The idea behind the initiative was to encourage artists to decorate buildings and create beautiful street art to provide interesting focal points across the city. All of the works are listed on Loures Arte Publica, a space where you can find details of all the existing public art in Loures, which has a population of approximately 200,000 people.