Tomar, a Templar City
- visit the Convent of Christ
- walk around the Sete Montes Woods
- visit the old synagogue
- enjoy the Fatias de Tomar
- visit the city in a year when the Tabuleiros Festival is taking place
- go to Almourol Castle
Former seat of the Order of the Knights Templar, Tomar is a city of great charm for its artistic and cultural wealth, whose greatest expression is in the Convent of Christ, one of the chief works of the Portuguese Renaissance.
Whatever your reason for visiting the city, climbing up to the Templar castle and discovering the monumental work of the Convent of Christ is a must. The Charola (Rotunda) is the oldest part. This Templar chapel was built in the 12th century, like the castle, which was at the time the Kingdom’s most up-to-date and advanced military set-up, inspired by the fortifications of the Holy Land. It was converted into a Chancel during the restoration works ordered by King Manuel I in the 16th century, when the complex gained the architectural splendour, kept intact to this day, which earned it World Heritage Site status.
It’s worth visiting the Convent at length to discover some of its precious details, such as the depictions on the Renaissance portal, the unique symbolism of the Manueline Window in the Chapter Hall, the architectural details in the Main Cloister and the spaces connected to Templar rituals. To better understand its history, it’s important to know how the Order of the Knights Templar became the Order of Christ, upholding their power, knowledge and wealth in Portugal. The famous Henry, the Navigator, the mentor of the Discoveries, was one of its most important governors and protectors.