The Knights Templar and the church of Santa Maria dos Olivais
Ten minutes walk from the historic centre of Tomar, Portugal is the church of Santa Maria dos Olivais which was built in the mid-1300s for the Grand Masters of the Knights Templar Order.
Santa Maria dos Olivais was built on the site of a seventh-century temple and was chosen, during the Portuguese Discoveries, as the mother church of all the churches of Africa, Asia and the Americas.
The church was built in the second half of the 12th century by the provincial master of the Order of the Knights Templar in Portugal, Gualdim Pais.
It was used as a burial place for the Knights Templar of Tomar, indeed, Gualdim Pais himself is buried at the church, and his original tomb slab, dated from 1195 and bearing a gothic inscription, is still preserved inside.