In October I visited the Convento de Cristo in the city of Tomar in central Portugal. Its construction by the Knight Templars began in 1160 alongside Tomar Castle. Returning from the Holy Land they helped regain Iberia from the Moors. When the monastic order of the Templars was persecuted in France it came under the protection of King Dinis of Portugal and its base as the Order of Christ was established in Tomar.
The Convent was built over hundreds of years by many important architects and in 1983 was declared a UNESCO site. One of the Grand Masters of the Order in the 15th century was Prince Henry the Navigator and during that time his Navigation school was established in Tomar. There he trained seamen in Astronomy, Navigation and Science prior to their voyages of discovery.
Sadly we were unable to visit the Oratory, a rotunda illustrated with paintings and frescos since that is currently being refurbished but we hope to return in the future.
To see a picture of the Rotunda
In our hotel dining room was a large mural in which the Kinight Templars can be seen on horseback at the front right and the Convent of Christ is on the top of the hill on the right.
You might enjoy a thrilling dual time adventure in Tomar and Sagres by Glen Craney The Virgin and the Wind Rose
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