Convent of the Order of Christ (Convento de Cristo)

Convent of the Order of Christ



Location: Tomar   Map

Tel. 249 313 481

Open: June- Sep: 9am- 6:30pm daily

Oct- May: 9am- 5:30pm daily

Closed: 1 Jan, Easter, 1 May, 25 Dec


Description of the Convent of the Order of Christ

Convent of the Order of Christ is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the city of Tomar in Portugal. This Roman Catholic Abbey was originally found in 12th century by the Templar knights as part of their huge empire that spread from Portugal to the Middle East. This mysterious and extremely powerful order of Templar knights participated in the Reconquest of Iberian peninsula from the Arab presence in this corner of Europe. This was a major fortress as support of their presence. This military and religious order was however dissolved in the early 14th century. Its members were either burned at the stake or died in prisons. The monastery was transferred to the Catholic monks. Grand Masters of the Order Henry the Navigator increased the monastery to the East during his rule from 1417 to 1460. During reign of King Manuel I (1495- 1512) Convent was enlarged to the West of the original medieval castle.

Convent of the Order of Christ Map



The oldest building of the complex is a round church (rotunda), like the Temple of London and other Templar churches built to imitate not only the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, but the Arab dome of the Rock (which the crusaders mistook for a fragment of the Solomon’s temple). Regarding the decor (floral motifs on the columns), the closest match to it is the Cathedral in Coimbra.

Order Castle
In 1190, the Templar fortress with round corner towers unprecedented in Iberia then withstood the siege of the Moors led by Yakub al-Mansur. Near Tomar, the knights erected another stronghold - Almourol. After the abolition of the Order of the Templars in 1312, their Portuguese possessions were transferred to the Order of Christ, who chose Tomar as his main residence in 1347.

King Manuel, even before his accession to the throne, was elected the Grand Master of the Order, launched large-scale construction in Tomar. After the construction of the new nave, the round church of the Templars turned into its apse. His successor, Juan III, attached an elegant Renaissance cloister to the Manueline nave; it was completed under Philippe II by the Italian Filippo Terzi. Only from the XV — XVI centuries. eight cloisters remained in the cloister. The monastery aqueduct is a monument from the time of the Spanish-Portuguese Union.