I got to know the Convent of Christ when I was still at school. The monument in Tomar, Portugal, is part of school curricula, such is the history that surrounds it.
Of course, when visiting the place already into adulthood the outlook is entirely different. Now, details are more noticeable as well as the understanding of the importance of the convent in Portuguese history.
Given this, what makes this place so unique?
1. It’s a World Heritage Site
When we reach the entrance to the monument, we understand its dimension. The Convent of Christ and the Castle of the Templars is one of the most significant monuments in Portugal. The entire complex, as well as adjacent land, stretches for a total of 45 hectares and its seven centuries of history have earned it the UNESCO World Heritage status.
2. The History
The past of the Convent of Christ is linked to the creation of the kingdom of Portugal and also to the passage of the Order of the Templars throughout the country. It was their responsibility the foundation of the castle and the village of Tomar. With the extinction of the Templars comes the Order of Christ, who, in 1357, installed its headquarters in the Castle of Tomar.
The monumental complex would remain under that wing until the extinction of religious orders in 1834. If you are interested in history, you can always get more information on the official page of the Convent of Christ.
3. Must See Areas
Donated by D. Afonso Henriques to the Templars in 1159, the Castle of Tomar was at the genesis of this whole complex. But other places here deserve particular attention, such as the Charola, the private oratory of the knights that can be found inside the fortress.
But when we speak of the Convent of Christ, an image jumps right into view: the Chapter Window.
In the convent, there are several ornaments with a significant symbolic meaning. The most prominent example is the windows of the sacristy, also known as the House of the Chapter. It’s here, on the western facade, that you’ll see the famous window. Look for the details of maritime inspiration and allusive to the Portuguese Discoveries, as well as the insignia of the Order of Christ.
Don’t forget to also walk through the central cloister of this Renaissance convent.
Visit the Convent of Christ
The Convent of Christ is open every day (except some holidays) between 9:00 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., closing at 6:30 p.m. in the summer months. To visit it you’ll have to pay a ticket of €6. But if you want to visit other monuments in the region you can opt for the World Heritage Ticket — €15, valid for seven days. This card also includes the Monastery of Alcobaça and the Monastery of Santa Maria da Vitoria, also known as Monastery of Batalha.
Do you already know the Convent of Christ? When you visit a country, do you like to see this kind of monuments? Share your opinion with me in the comments box below. I love to read your experiences!
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