The number of monuments dedicated to the Knights Templar shows incredible, through a route full of history.
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The legends around Templars they multiply and each castle, its sentence. They only existed for two centuries, in the Middle Ages, having been founded during the first crusade, in 1096, eventually forming an order that would eventually be extinguished by Pope Clement V, in 1312. But the mark they left remains until today.
There are several castles in Portugal that are part of the history of the Order of the Temple, or simply Templars, an organization founded in the Middle Ages with the purpose of protecting Christians on pilgrimages. In the list of Portuguese monuments there are 12 historical points, distributed between the northwest and the central zone of the national territory. Being still quite dispersed, we idealized a Route of the Templars that allows visiting some of the most important.
Starting north, the Soure Castle is the starting point. In the opposite direction, the route should have as its first stop the Almourol Castle🇧🇷 From one point to another, you must also add the obligatory stops at To taketo visit the Castle and Convent of Christ, and the Pombal Castle, thus covering a significant part of the Route of the Templars in Portugal.
Although all the monuments belong to the Order of the Temple, the history of each one is mixed with that of the Templars at different times, as you can discover.
Route of the Templars: what not to miss
Donated to the Templars in 1128 and then renovated, the Soure Castle it was located in an area considered strategic: border between Christian and Muslim territory. The monument, located in the lower Mondego valley, has a religious origin given some of its architectural features. When visiting the Castle it is possible to see its two quadrangular towers and the walls that still exist, although some parts of the construction have already been destroyed.
This monument was built from scratch by the Knights Templar and served as an important landmark in the defense of the territory south of Coimbra. As in Soure, it is also possible visit the towers of Pombal Castle the fortification has 10 examples, both rectangular and square. The Castle has been rebuilt over the centuries, having been profoundly remodeled in the last century. Attached to the work is the Church of Santa Maria do Castelo.
With the same purpose of the previous fortifications, the Tomar Castle presents itself as the ex libris of the Knights Templar, along with the Convent of Christ, both UNESCO World Heritage🇧🇷 The size of the monument, which was built on Muslim ruins, reflects the ambition of the Order of the Temple to locate its headquarters there. When visiting Tomar Castle, located on a 126-metre hill, you can see military architectural elements from the time, such as the medina, the courtyard and the fortress.
Convent of Christ
As it is a monument after the operations of the Knights Templar, the Convent of Christ it cannot dissociate itself from the organization, whose scope was later recovered through the Order of Christ. The experience in space is above all a visit to the past of Portugal and the city, where the history of religious orders is part of the present. The work highlights the charolaa chapter windowO main cloistera convent fence it’s the convent aqueduct🇧🇷
Located in Vila Nova da Barquinha, the Almouro CastleI count on the Templar Interpretation Center🇧🇷 There, it is possible to visit the permanent exhibition on the Order of the Temple, as well as watch films on the subject. It is also possible to visit the library and the archive on the Templars.
As for the monument, the Castle already existed before entering the route of the Order of the Templars – the official website gives the date of foundation as uncertain, as the site would have been occupied in pre-Roman times. Even so, the work ended in 1171, two years after the completion of the Castle of Tomar.
Alternative Templar Route
In addition to these 5 monuments, you can also visit, and chart your own Templar route, taking into account other historical points. O Mogadouro Castle, in the Bragança district, was donated to the Templars in the 12th century and later established as Paço dos Távoras, before being abandoned. Alongside the ruins of feathers rhoias, is the northernmost Templar landmark in the national territory. Heading south, 90 kilometers away, you can find the Longroiva Castlein the municipality of Mêda.
Continuing through the interior of Portugal, the route requires a prolonged stop in the district of Castelo Branco, given the proliferation of monuments donated to the Knights Templar. Stops to visit new castlesin Fundão and penha garcia, in Idanha-a-nova must be included in the route. Still in Castelo Branco, there is visit the Castle that gives its name to the district and visit the historic urban fence🇧🇷 30 minutes from the city is the King Wamba’s Castle, in the picturesque Vila Velha de Rodão. Finally, and already in the north of the district of Portalegre, in the village of Nisa, the list of monuments belonging to the Order of the Templars concludes with the ruins of the Montalvao Castle.
How to go
from the Harborthe quickest way to start the Route of the Templars is to take the A1 towards Soure, to visit the county’s Castle
From Lisbon, the first point of interest is Almoroul Castle. To get there, take the A1 towards Vila Nova da Barquinha and take the Nacional 3 for a short distance.
Where to stay
Between Soure, Pombal, Tomar and Vila Nova da Barquinha, we present you with three accommodation suggestions at different points of this Route of the Templars.
Dovecote: Cardal Hotel
To take: Templar Hotel
Boat VN: Sonnets of the Tagus
What to eat
Obviously, all these routes require a lot of dedication and effort, so it’s inevitable that hunger strikes at a certain point. In any area of this Route of the Templars you will find fantastic places to indulge yourself, but here are three suggestions of local products that you cannot miss: the Rabaçal cheeseat Slices of Tomar and the Barbos de Molhata🇧🇷 Believe me, you won’t regret it.