Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Templar Castles

On our recent trip to Portugal we took a Templar's Tour through a company called Cooltour LX.  They took us to central Portugal where two beautiful Templar castles are located.

The short history lesson: the Templar's story in Portugal is much different than that of the rest of Europe.  The Templars had become rich as a group as whenever they successfully protected a kingdom they were given wealth and lands.  Later, when a European King decided he wanted these lands, nasty false rumors were spread and the Pope (who just happened to be related to the same King) was convinced that the Templars should be wiped out.  The Templars throughout Europe were executed.  At the time, the King of Portugal refused to do the same and managed to protect them, convincing the Pope that in Portugal, a new order called the Order of Christ be created so that they could continue to assist in protecting Portugal.  The Pope agreed and the Portuguese Templars were disbanded, and the Order of Christ created. These are two of their Portuguese Castles.

The Almoural Castle is located a short distance from Tomar in central Portugal on an island in the middle of the Tagus River.  As the castle is currently under structural fortification we were unable to view it except by boat from the water.  Even so, it was stunningly beautiful.  It is believed to have been built in the 1st century. 
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Almoural Castle, Portugal

Tomar Castle  built in 1160 was next.  This is my favorite of those we saw in Portugal.

Tomar Castle, Portugal


Inside Castle grounds

Castle Exterior

Templars Cross on ceiling of  the Church

Inside the Chapel

Courtyard

Gargoyle or dog? You be the judge


Beautiful!

It was so peaceful and beautiful at the same time.  This area is a little less traveled as is about 1.5 hours from Lisbon.  Portugal has such a rich history and fortunately, believes in preserving that.  As you can see, Portugal really delivered a wonderful vacation.  If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend it.  We would go back in a heartbeat.  Castles + wine = most excellent vacation!


23 comments:

  1. Beautiful! I've never thought about Portugal as a destination but your pictures have shown it would be a great place to visit. Thanks!

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    1. Ditto! I had no idea these cool castles were there. So awesome!!!

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    2. The castles, to be perfectly honest, were what first attracted me to Portugal as we have no family ties there. After we booked I met so many people who had been to Portugal and loved it.

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  2. I would love to visit Portugal and to see the Templar castles and other treasures. Thank you for "taking us with you" on this mini tour. Your photos are great.

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    1. Thanks - I took over 800 pictures but now after editing and weeding out duplicates am down to about 300. Better than shopping!

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  3. We've only spent one day is Lisbon, although we have had several weeks long trips to Spain. I believe the next time we will plan several weeks in Portugal. Your photos are beautiful!

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    1. Definitely so much to see and the people were very friendly. Spain is definitely on one of my lists next though.

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  4. Amazing architecture. What a wonderful place to visit. - Margy

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    1. I can't stop gushing about it. Hubby just said to me last night again, what a great vacation!

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  5. I feel smarter just for stopping over.
    Thank you for sharing, its nice to take a mental vacation.

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    1. Likely the only history lesson you will ever see on this blog lol :)

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  6. Gorgeous photos - thank you! I studied romanesque and gothic architecture at university but hadn't seen these temples before. I see a trip to Portugal in my future :)

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    1. I loved the buildings, so many different styles. I never studied it but would love to take a course to learn more.

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    1. Thanks! What amazedf me was all the different types of flowers and trees - so many imported from different parts of the world due to Portugal being such an early trade center.

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  8. Wow!!! I have told my husband for years that we are not spending winter months in Florida when we retire. I want to go to Portugal. Well, now I REALLY want to go!

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    1. They have lots of condos for longer stays but based on where we wanted to be a condo wasn't the way to go this trip as we moved around a little. Portugal isn't necessarily hot in winter (can be rainy up until April) but definitely better than dealing with snow.

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  9. We haven't been to Tomar, but it's on our (long!) list. Our next visit to the country will be to Porto as we haven't been to the north of Portugal either - there's so much to discover as it's such a beautiful country :)

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    1. It was a tough call, if we ever go back Porto will be on our list of must visit places.

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  10. How amazing! We glanced out the window of the train on our way up to Córdoba and spotted one of these ancient wonders (although not specifically Templar... that I know of) just sitting atop a hill overlooking a village. Incredible. Dog or gargoyle? Hmmm... Dogoyle!!!

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    1. I go with Dogoyle as well. I am sure there are dozens more castles all throughout Portugal. I would love to go back exploring the quieter towns.

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  11. I went to The Algave back in the 1980s but have always had a hankering for Lisbon - due in no small part to Goa being Portuguese for over 400 years. These photos are wonderful. xxx

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    1. I would love to go back to another part of Portugal - Porto or the Algarve too. I knew you might like some of these pictures. Goa interests me because of your travels!

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