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.
|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|
|Templars Cross on ceiling of the Church|
|Inside the Chapel|
|Gargoyle or dog? You be the judge|
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!