Dominating the old town of Tomar from its hillside perch, the Convento de Cristo is a Unesco World Heritage Site and one of Portugal’s most important historical monuments.
Founded in 1118, for centuries it was the seat and stronghold of the Knights Templar, an organisation that held a lot of power in Portugal and played an integral role in its history, from the founding of the nation to heavily funding the Age of Discoveries. Within the crenelated 12th century walls is a magnificent patchwork of diverging styles, including Gothic, Manueline and Renaissance, from grand additions over time by successive kings and Grand Masters.
At the heart of the complex is the Charola, the 16-sided Templar Church, said to be built this way so the knights could attend Mass on horseback, with its magnificent and extravagant interiors. Don’t miss the Manueline Window, a fantastical celebration of the Age of Discoveries.
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