Tomar: 8 km from Quinta da Cotovia
The development of Tomar is closely associated with the order of the Knights Templar, who got this country in 1159 as a reward for the help that they to d. Afonso Henriques (first King of Portugal) had commanded during the Christian conquest of the territory.
D. Gualdim Pais, first Grand Master of the Knights Templar in Portugal, founded the castle within the castle walls and he let the important monastery Convento de Cristo. This monastery was expanded and changed over the centuries, but maintaining the influences of different architectural styles through the ages. It is the business card of the city of Tomar and is recognized by UNESCO as world heritage.
Tomar is known as the city of the Knights Templar. There are still other witnesses in Tomar of their influence, mainly in the forest Mata dos Sete Montes, where according to tradition initiation rituals took place, and the Church Igreja de Santa Maria do Olival, who founded the Knights Templar in the 12th century and houses the tombs of several Grand Masters of the order.
The order of the Knights Templar was in France at the beginning of the 14th century forbidden, but in Portugal it was continued at the request of King d. Dinis, and later approved by the Pope. The order went on under the name Christ order (Ordem de Cristo) and all goods and possessions of the Knights Templar were about on the new order, which would play an important role during the Portuguese discoveries.
The Jews, who were expelled from Spain, formed in Tomar a colony in the narrow streets of the historic center, where also one of the oldest synagogues of Portugal and a luso-Hebrew museum (Museu Luso-Hebraico Abraão Zacuto).
The spectacular events Festas dos Tabuleiro, which every four years, next in 2015, take place in July, are worth your visit. The events are held in honour of the Holy Spirit (Espírito Santo).