The mysterious CITY of TEMPLARS

One of the most fascinating and evocative journeys in the world

Tomar's Temple

A city dominated by a fortress on which stands the legendary Convento de Cristo, place of the Knights of the Temple, which today offers relaxation and entertainment to those who visit it

The mysterious CITY of TEMPLARS

# In one of the most fascinating places

Credits: @rubenrgameiro IG

We are in Tomar, a city in Portugal that offers one of the most fascinating and evocative journeys in the world.
Built around the edges of the Rio Nabão, the city of Tomar can offer a number of stimulating visits: you can choose between the many walks and activities in the historic center, from which you can reach, with a short walk, the Fortress above, the one that holds the Convent of Christ Templars.

# The Templar Convent, one of the most important Renaissance buildings

The Convent of the Templars is the most enigmatic feature of this town home up to about 43,000 people. Convento de Cristo is one of the most important buildings of the entire Renaissance, as such influenced by numerous architectural styles, such as that of the castle fortifications directly inspired by the Holy Land defensive walls.
At the time of the construction the Castle was the most modern military structure in the world, which for the Templars also adopted the ancient circular layout of the Romanesque oratory, to use it as a base for the Charola. It is the church with a circular plan, adorned with columns and arches, which in addition to being full of references to Templar ceremonies, allowed the Knights of Christ to attend religious services without ever getting off their horses.
From the old circular oratory inspiration, the most curious fortress-convent in the world was then built.

# The window decorated by God himself

Manueline Window Credits: conventodecristo IG

Wandering through the arcades and styles inside Convento de Cristo is certainly a journey through time and architectural styles. One must slowly discover the mysteries of the Templar citadel, such as the Renaissance portal and its enigmatic representations, the rooms related to the Templar rituals, wander through the courtyards until arriving at the Chapter House window decorated in Manueline art, known as decorated by God himself.
The outer frame of the window is decorated with knots and crusader shields, shows at the bottom a relief by the sculptor Diego de Arruda (or the Old Sea) and in general has a characteristic appearance conferred by some signs of time, which make it appear as if it had a marine deposit.

# The cross-shaped city

Credits: @sandra_d.o.m.i.n.g.o.s IG

The oldest place in the city of Tomar is cross-shaped, oriented towards the four cardinal points and with a church built at each end. The southernmost one, dedicated to São Francisco, is the one that offers the most interesting curiosity: a Museum of Matches, a vast collection of matchboxes kept in vertical showcases more than a person’s height.
It is possible to visit the river that divides the city, the Rio Nabão, crossing it by walking on the bridges and arriving to the watermills that the river fed in historical times.

# The house of watermills

Watermill Credits: tigeladakawaii IG

It is precisely Tomar’s work of the mills and oil presses that has made, since the Middle Ages, the fortune and wealth of this town, one of the most prominent on the Iberian Peninsula.
In the Parque do Mouchão, which can be reached along routes that pass between characteristic buildings and historic cobblestones streets, one of the city’s emblems is preserved: a wooden water wheel called the Roda do Mouchão.
For a refreshing break, one can sit down in one of the characteristic cafés of the center, which offer typical sweets of the area, made with almonds or Siamese pumpkins, or alternatively, a unique local specialty, Fatias de Tomar, egg yolks prepared in a special pot for water bath cooking, invented in the last century by a Tomar’s pewter-maker.

The Templar Order was later disbanded and – just as mysteriously – transformed into the Order of Christ, in efforts to safeguard Portugal’s religious wealth.  Tomar has never stopped being home to the Templar citadel, which has since become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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