Convent of Christ in Tomar (1983)

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Originally designed as a monument symbolizing the Reconquest, the Convent of the Knights Templar of Tomar (transferred in 1344 to the Knights of the Order of Christ) came to symbolize just the opposite during the Manueline period – the opening up of Portugal to other civilizations. 

The charming city of Tomar stretches along the Nabão River and has gained world fame as the ancient headquarters of the Knights of the Templar. 

The militant and wealthy monks, who by the Powers of the Cross threw out the Moors, settled here in 1160.  On papal orders the order was dissolved in 1312, but a few years later the Portuguese King Diniz established the Order of Christ, who erected their impressive cloister in Tomar in 1344. 

  • Portugal 1955.  King Diniz (1261-1325), who reigned 1279-1325), and who established the Order of Christ. 

Portugal 1955. King Diniz. Tomar.

The Convent of Christ (Ordem de Cavalaria de Nossa Senhor Jesus Christo) was under continuous construction from the 12th to the 17th century.  The heart of the complex, containing not less than seven different parts, is the polygon rotunda (charola) -- The Church of the Templar -- and is inspired by the burial church in Jerusalem.  

Portugal 1973. The Aqueduct Aguas Livres, Tomar. Portugal 1962. 800th anniversary of Tomar. Portugal 1973. Window from the Convent of Tomar.

The old center of Tomar has maintained its classical charm with white-washed houses along the cobbled streets and much of the city, including the Church of the Order of Christ, are some of Portugal's finest examples of Renaissance architecture. 

Other World Heritage Sites in Portugal and Areas (on this website). Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, Portugal-section, for further information about the individual properties. 

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Revised 21 jul 2006  
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