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Convent of Christ / Convento de Cristo em Tomar #01 | by Jose Elias /
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Convent of Christ / Convento de Cristo em Tomar #01

Monument classified as World Heritage by UNESCO


The Convent of the Order of Christ (Convento de Cristo), in Tomar, Portugal, was originally a Templar stronghold built in the 12th century. After the Order of the Knights Templar was dissolved in the 14th century, the Portuguese branch of the order was turned into the Knights of the Order of Christ, which supported Portugal's maritime discoveries of the 15th century. The Convent of Christ of Tomar is one of Portugal's most important historical and artistic monuments and has been in the World Heritage list of UNESCO since 1983.


The castle of the Knights Templar of Tomar was built by Gualdim Pais, provincial Master of the Order of the Temple, around 1160. Later in that century, the castle was chosen as the headquarters of the order in Portugal. The castle of Tomar was part of the defence system created by the Templars to secure the border of the young Christian Kingdom against the Moors, which at the time (mid-12th century) corresponded approximately to the Tagus river.


The famous round church (rotunda) of the castle of Tomar was also built in the second half of the 12th century. The church, like some other templar churches throughout Europe, was modelled after the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, which was mistakenly believed by the crusaders to be a remnant of the Temple of Solomon. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem may also have served as model.

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Taken on July 18, 2007