Originally designed as a monument symbolizing the Reconquest, the Convent of the Knights Templar of Tomar (transferred in ... More
Convent of Christ in Tomar
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.
This remarkable suite of buildings, from the Medieval through the Renaissance, is one of the most remarkable sites to visit in all of Europe. It is worth the lengthy drive to this remote spot, for the buildings are pretty much left as is. The visitor is totally free to explore at will--there are no barriers to keep you from any part of the structures, and the atmosphere of holiness pervades the stones. It far outshines the far more popular and nearby Fatima, which is so overrun by tourists and Marian kitsch as to leave one cold. This place is the real thing, and worth spending several days exploring and soaking in the atmosphere. I can't think of another place on earth that has this complexity of experience packed into such a restricted era. Its history is well worth studying before going, as it will make the experience just that much richer.