Convent of Christ and Templar stronghold, Tomar
After passing through an impressive, gated archway the picture on the left shows the first sight inside the walls of the ~ Convent of Christ and Templar stronghold at Tomar ~
. The headquarters of the Templar order within Portugal.
The small inset picture shows two plaques and the name of the site, attached to the wall just outside the gate.
The larger picture is the round church, or rotunda, perhaps modelled on the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem..
Approaching the place by car it's easy to see that it's big, the range of buildings crown the top of a hill. From the parking area it's a short walk to the huge gate, with one door left open for visitors. I had never fully understood why these, and other similar gates, tend to be so high, but a knight on a large horse carrying his lance or banner vertically would need that height to pass through unimpeded.
I am sure many know the history of the Knights Templar, but specifically relating to Tomar here is what is printed on a board by the gate:-
The Order of the Temple was abolished in 1312.
In Portugal its property and part of its vocation would be inherited by the Order of Christ, created at the request of the King, Dom Dinis.
With the frontiers of the country strengthened, a new military and religious order played an important role in overseas expansion.
The gradual need to adapt the new Order to social changes brought about successive spiritual reforms. The alteration would mean various building contracts being carried out.
After the abolition of religious orders in 1834 ownership was partially transferred to Antonio Bernardo da Costa Cabral. The private residence of the Marquis and Count of Tomar was reacquired by the state in 1933.
In 1983 the Convent of Christ was classified as a World Heritage Site by Unesco along with the Templar Castle.
The whole site of the fortress and Convent of Christ is a huge, and truly magnificent place, in all aspects of the word. We will return, a whole day is needed to go round all the buildings and another to truly explore the town.
It's difficult to explain my feelings when we arrived at Tomar. It's somewhere I have wanted to visit for years, and to actually be there was more than a physical journey.
I feel that none of my pictures are capable of showing the place as it truly was, and I have so many - some are quite good, others only reasonable, but even so I will try to put them together to share this place with you for the first week of ~ Advent ~
If you have a spare moment, please visit my vfxy.