Historical Context



The Tomar Castle and the Convento de Cristo were classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. The monument is one of the largest in Europe, with an area of approximately 4 hectares.

The Templar Castle, dating from 1160, is a building of military architecture. Its walls are protected by an alambor (thickening of the base of the wall), and its surveillance is guaranteed by the Keep and the Charola, the two highest points of the fortress.

In 1356, the Castle became the headquarters of the Order of Christ and convent quarters were built around two Gothic cloisters – Claustro da Lavagem and Claustro do Cemitério. Already in the 16th century, the Manueline Nave was built to house the Coro Alto and the Sala do Capítulo. The nave incorporated the imposing and famous Janela do Capítulo - symbol of the Portuguese maritime expansion.

During the Philippine dynasty, the Main Cloister was remodelled and the New Sacristy was built in the Cemetery Cloister. During this period, the south and north façades were also renovated. The first one altered by the arrival of the Convent's Aqueduct and the second one with the Gatehouse and new dependencies in the Hospedaria Cloister.

Already in the 17th century, major works were carried out that created the current Infirmary and Apothecary. From the 20th century onwards, the monument was occupied by the Army, the Guarda Nacional Republicana and the Seminário das Missões Ultramarinas, until the government  gradually took possession of the Convento de Cristo, with cultural and tourist functions that remain to this day.

For further information, please go to Convento de Cristo.


Photos and videos - Christopher Pratt and Orlando Oliveira in service of Next Solution Lda.