Tomar is the most important place of the Templar History in the whole world, since it has preserved an imposing castle and church, practically intact. The Order of the Temple existed from 1118 to 1308, when the Pope extinguished it and deprived it of its assets.
The Portuguese King D. Dinis ruled in those times and obeyed to the Pope command, however he kept the assets for the Crown and founded the Order of Christ. And so the Knights of the Temple remained in Portugal. A century after, in 1415 with the conquest of Ceuta, Infante D. Henrique became the Grand Master of the Order of Christ and lived for over a decade in Tomar. It was actually here that he designed the project of the Portuguese Discoveries.
In Tomar, apart from the Convent of Christ, there are other testimonies of the influence of the Knights Templar, such as the woods Mata dos Sete Montes, where initiating rituals took place, and the Church of Santa Maria do Olival – the ancient Roman Sellium, donated by the first King of Portugal, D. Afonso Henriques to Master Gualdim Pais, as he returned from the Crusades.
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Tomar downtown was planned according to the vision of Infante D. Henrique and it also inspired other Portuguese cities as Angra do Heroísmo and Lisbon. At the center of this beautiful square there is the statue of Grand Master Gualdim Pais, placed between the City Hall and the Church of Saint John, the Baptist.
In the street Rua Joaquim Jacinto, the former Rua Nova, parallel to Corredoura street, there is the Jewish quarter of mid-15th century, the oldest one in Portugal, nowadays skillfully converted into a museum.