On this tour we will visit the main monuments related to the portuguese Templars. We will visit the Almourol Castle and Tomar village (where the Christ Convent is).
We will stop first in Almoroul Castle heading after to Tomar where we stop for lunch before visiting the Christ Convent.
Set in a small island in the middle reaches of the river Tagus, Almourol Castle is one of the most emblematic medieval military monuments and scenography of the Reconquest (christian crusades inside Europe), being one of the monuments that best evokes the memory of the Templars in Portugal.
The origins of the occupation of this site are quite old and, therefore, enigmatic. After being conquered, the castle was given to the Templars Despite being primarily responsible for the defense of the capital, Coimbra, the castle was rebuilt and took the architectural and artistic features which still can be observed. Through an epigraph, placed on the front door, we know that the re-construction took place in 1171, barely two years after the great work of Tomar Castle.
TOMAR AND THE CONVENT OF CHRIST
The criteria that ruled its classification took especially into account the Templar´s Charola and the unusual western window of the Manueline nave – its construction extends and prolongs past the castle its own rotunda, the Knight´s primitive oratorium.
The Charola (picture above), apart from being one of the best amongst the rare existing examples of the rotunda-shaped church, symbolizes the medieval European world of the crusades and the defence of faith. The Manueline window constitutes the first synthesis between European and Oriental art in its original decorative grammar.
Its architecture evokes a vast European art repertoire embodied in the styles that the passing centuries brought to the edifice. The rebirth convent itself was taken into account in the classification of the monastic complex. It is one of the bigger ones in Europe and, also, its main cloister is a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture (according to its classification as a cultural asset in the UNESCO´s world heritage list at a meeting that took place in Paris on December 7th of 1982).