Castle of the Templars, Tomar, Portugal [video]
Castle of the Templars, Tomar, Portugal [video]Follow @KnightsTempOrg
The Templar castle at Tomar is the most popular site to visit in Portugal, and it's easy to see why. The Moors originally built a castle and mosque there somewhere between the 7th and 9th century and when their time was finished, the land was granted to the Order of the Knights Templar invited in the second half of the 12th century to assist Portugal in the Reconquista.
Immediately they began building upon the original castle, to be the Templars' headquarters in Portugal. Under the leadership of the fourth grand master of the Knights Templars, Gualdim Pais, the construction was in full swing.
Of the 45 hectares belonging to the knights, 5 hectares were developed as a great castle that even Lord Wellington in a later age said was virtually impregnable.
The Knights Templars incorporated not only the beautiful Arabic fountains and courtyards but added a phenomenal religious rotunda, the Charola, decorated from top to bottom in gold leaf and carvings and brilliantly directed sunlight.