Tomar, Portugal

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A visit to a Portuguese historic Heritage Site

A visit to a Portuguese historic Heritage Site

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  • 1. Tomar, PortugalTown of the Knights Templar
  • 2. Tomar (some spell it “Thomar”) is a townin the centre of Portugal, on the banks ofthe Nabão river.Population: around 40 000 It is a historic town, founded by the knights Templar, in 1162, over a roman settlement (Sellis) that had also been occupied by the Moors.
  • 3. Situated on a fertile planeof many pines, oaks andolive trees, in a region ofhistoric castles and greatbattles, Tomar has beenrewarded with UNESCO’srecognition of its Heritage.
  • 4. The town centre lays between the river and the hill where theTemplar knights built the castle and their Monastery.
  • 5. The old town
  • 6. An old stone bridge (Ponte Velha) from roman times, some2000 years old, leads into the old town. It has been severaltimes submitted to repair and improvement.
  • 7. On the left, the old river mills (15th cent.).
  • 8. The castle dominates old Tomar.
  • 9. The river Nabão is part of the town’s beauty.
  • 10. A water wheel from 1976 still decorates the river’s bank – the MouchãoWheel. Made of pine and oak wood, it was built to help with irrigation. .
  • 11. The main street, Corredoura
  • 12. A few Art Deco façades decorate the south side
  • 13. On the north side, two blue-tile pannels (azulejos) decorate a groundfloor façade.
  • 14. This azulejo pannelrepresents a famouswindow of the Templar’sChrist Convent: themanueline window, anexhuberant gothic styleinspired in the portugueseoverseas discoveries.It will be shown in thispresentation later on.
  • 15. As any portuguese small town, Tomar has its central café: the CaféParaíso (Paradise)
  • 16. Now we arrive to the main square in the old town:Republic Square
  • 17. St. John the Baptist church.
  • 18. The manueline gothicportal of the church isthe main feature in thesquare.On sunny days, you canseat watching it at alocal Café’s terrace.
  • 19. The characteristic church’soctogonal bell tower inlimestone, with a pyramidshaped roof, displays severalsmall decorative elements.
  • 20. The tower watch,with sculpted frameand painted face.
  • 21. Inside, the pulpit in carvedlimestone is a masterpieceof manueline style.v
  • 22. In the surrounding alleys
  • 23. Tomar had a jewish borough,and a sinagogue still existswith a small museum.Along the old Judiaria streetseveral houses like this oneare a testimony of that.
  • 24. The jewish comunity arrived during the 14th cent. and grew to alarge population in the 15th cent., with considerable importancein the Portuguese discoveries affair.
  • 25. Cobblestone alleys,plant-decorated doors
  • 26. Vila Tomé, ca.1900An elegantBelle Époquemansion
  • 27. Nearby, the old chapel of St. Gregory (16th cent.), of octogonalplant, surrounded by a porch sustained by tuscan columns .
  • 28. The chapel’s main doorway: again, manueline styled stone frame
  • 29. Church and convent of St. Iria(16th cent.)
  • 30. Inside the church, a small side chapel has an excellent altarpiecesculpture from Jean de Rouen, a french architect who worked inPortugal since 1518.
  • 31. Detail of Jean deRouen‘s Calvary
  • 32. Out of town to World Heritage sites
  • 33. The Templar heritage:the Castleandthe Christ Convent
  • 34. In I983, UNESCO classified the Templar Castle and the Conventof the Knights of Christ in Tomar, as a unique monument in thehistory of the western world, and a world heritage site.
  • 35. This vast monumentillustrates seven centuriesof Portugals History
  • 36. During the second half of the 12th century, the Knights Templarwere called to Portugal, where they helped in the Reconquest.Their first and principal fortress was Tomar.
  • 37. The original churchwas built at the endof the 12th century,around 1160, by thefirst great Master ofthe Templars,Gualdim Pais.It was based on apolygonal groundplan including anoctagonal choir withambulatory: this isone of the typicalrotondas of Templararchitecture of whicha few examples stillexist in Europe.
  • 38. The Templar round church (late 12th century) is indicated in red,while the manueline nave (early 16th century) is in blue.
  • 39. Manueline gothic nave Templar round church
  • 40. In the 14th century, the Order of the Knights Templar was abolished andreplaced by the Order of Christ, which supported Portugals maritimediscoveries of the 15th century. Tomar remained an important site withHenry the Navigator (Dom Henrique), Grand Master of the orderbetween 1417 and 1460.
  • 41. The great doorway of thechurch nave, in manuelinegothic carved limestone.
  • 42. The Cloister of the cemetery, built to the north-east of the rotondaaround 1430 by Dom Henrique, employing pointed arches of anelegant Gothic style, sustained by twin columns.
  • 43. The octogonal ambulatory (Charola)The church was worked out by Gualdim Pais as a 16-sidedambulatory after Jerusalem temples that the Knights Templartook as a model.From outside, it looks more like a strong fortress, but the interioris otherworldly in its vast heights - an awesome combination ofsimple forms and rich embellishment. The decoration is fromlater 15-16th cent., under Manueline and Spanish Filipine rule.
  • 44. A central space witheight angles and aninvolving polygonalnave of 16 sides.
  • 45. In the centre stands aneerily gothic high altar,like a temple within atemple.Restored wall paintingsdate from the early 16thcentury..
  • 46. The pulpitThis is a small masterpiece ofreligious art.Sumptuously decorated,dominated by magnificentfrescoes, it’s a Renaissancejewel.
  • 47. Outside again
  • 48. A spiraled staircase leads to a terrace
  • 49. And then... the famousmanueline window of theConvent.
  • 50. A prodigious decor combinesGothic reminiscences andMoorish influences, offeringthe most accomplishedexpression of the Manuelinedecorative style.
  • 51. The Aqueduct of PegõesIn 1581, after a succession crisis, the Portuguese nobilitygathered in the Convent of Christ in Tomar and officiallyrecognised Philip II of Spain (Philip I of Portugal) as King.Between 1581 and 1640 the kingdoms of Portugal and Spainwere united. The aqueduct of the Convent was built during theSpanish rule.
  • 52. Back to town
  • 53. Tomar by night
  • 54. ©Mário Ricca, 2012