Convento de Cristo cloister.

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FEATURED at COMPLEX SIMPLICITY
9 April 2010
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TOMAR
PORTUGAL
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History of the Order

The Order of the Knights of Christ (Ordem de cavalharia de Nosso Senhor Jesús Cristo) was founded by King Dinis in 1317 for the purpose of “defend ing the faith, fighting the Moors and enlarging the Portuguese monarchy”, following the dissolution in 1314 of the order of Knights Templar which had been established at Tomar since 1159. The new order flourished, particularly under its famous Grand Master Henry the Navigator.

The Order financed voyages of discovery to the west coast of Africa and thus began the process of colonial acquisition by the European nations. In the reign of King Manuel I (Grand Master from 1484) its possessions in Africa and the East Indies made it the wealthiest order in Christendom
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The knightly order became a monastic order in 1523, was secularized in 1789 and dissolved in 1910.

History of the building

In the 12th C., in order to defend the line of the Tagus, the Knights Templar built a castle high above the right bank of the Nabao, and some of this castle’s walls, its keep and the round Templar church are still part of the complex.

The Order of the Knights of Christ was first based in Castro Marim, when it was founded in 1317, then moved to Tomar in 1356. As Grand Master, Henry the Navigator was responsible for the building around the Templar castle in the early 15th C. of the Claustro da Lavagem and Claustro do Cemitério. The Order’s next flowering was under Manuel I, who around 1500 had the Church of the Knights of Christ added on to the Templar church, and had the Claustro de Santa Bárbara and the new Chapterhouse built. Although the Order waned in political significance in the 16th and 17th C. there was further building during this period in the convent precincts, and four more cloisters were added, the Claustro dos Felipes, Claustro dos Corvos, Claustro da Micha and Claustro da Hospedaria. The buildings were restored by the Counts of Tomar in the mid 19th C., and the green setting for the convent castle was first landscaped in the 1930s.

Tour of the complex

The entrance to the great complex of 12th to 17th C. buildings that go to make up the convent castle of the Knights of Christ, high above Tomar, is through two gates of the old Templar castle. Passing through gardens to reach the terrace of the Templar Church, access to the interior of the convent is through the southern door of the Church of the Knights of Christ on the western end of the Templar building.
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http://www.planetware.com/tomar/convento-da-ord...
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Artwork Comments

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