The Templar’s Monastery

We still had one more monastery on our list: the Convento de Cristo in Tomar.

This fortified monastery was founded in 1162 by Templar Knights. First a castle was built to withstand the attacks of the Moors. Soon it was turned into a monstery. Its centerpiece is the old round church, which houses another octagonal structure inside. Model for the building was probably the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.

Templar round church decorated with late Gothic painting

Castle walls which resisted the armies of the Moors
Castle and keep

The keep, a central tower of residential and defensive functions, was introduced in Portugal by the Templars, and the one in Tomar is one of the oldest in the country.

Another novelty introduced in Portugal by the Templars (learned from decades of experience in Normandy and Brittany) are the round towers in the outer walls, which are more resistant to attacks than square towers.

Main church of the Convent constructed by the Templar Knights
Round church from the nave
Chapter House
Renaissance cloister

The Convent of Christ has a total of eight cloisters, all someway connected with each other. We nearly got lost while exploring every part of this vast complex of cloisters.

Dormitory wing
Dining hall

Following the dissolution of the Templar Order in 1319, the pope instituted the Order of Christ. The Templar order had been suppressed in most of Europe, but in Portugal its members and assets were transferred to the Order of Christ, facilitated by the protection of the Portuguese king who refused to pursue and persecute them. Tomar – the seat of the former Templar Knights was converted into the seat of this new order.

The famous chapter house window
A wonderful example of the Manueline style
Knotted ropes – a typical part of the Manueline style
Tomar from the river
After descending into town, we found a lovely restaurant which had a terrace to the river. So we decided to spoil us a little with a nice lunch while enjoying the view. As always we got a plate of little starters without asking. Typical was also the Portuguese cabbage which came with the fish.
Lunch with a view
In Tomar, we stayed at the official and free parking for campers, which was a former camping ground close to the river and the city. It was like staying in a park with so many trees and bushes. After visiting this huge monastery the perfect place to relax!
Enjoying the good weather
Flower of the day

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