The City of Tomar is an historical and architectural gem, it is located in Central Portugal and is also the main municipal town. The municipality of Tomar is largely agricultural though other industries thrive there.
The paper industry thrives on the pine and eucalyptus forests that surround the area, olive oil and wine also make up an important part of Tomar’s agricultural story.
The river Nabao flows through the centre of the city and makes for a most attractive backdrop.
São João Batista and Santa Maria dos Olivais are the parishes that make up the city centre itself and here is a list of all parishes in the Tomar municipality.
- Além da Ribeira e Pedreira
- Casais e Alviobeira
- Madalena e Beselga
- São Pedro de Tomar
- Tomar (São João Baptista) e Santa Maria dos Olivais
- Serra e Junceira
Tomar began with a Castle built by the knights Templar, it later became known as the Convento do Cristo and is a large part of the reason that Tomar is a world heritage site. The Convento do Cristo is truly impressive and well worth a visit in its own right. Add Tomar city to the mix and it becomes a must see for anyone visiting the area.
The city itself has a population of 20,000 and the wider municipality contains some 40,000 people. These numbers all swell significantly in the summer when the tourists arrive.
The historical importance of Tomar cannot be overstated, it is the last Templar town to be commissioned, it was the centre from which Henry the Navigator orchestrated Portugal’s expansion overseas, this is in turn went on to become the first truly global empire. It is also where the Knights Templar survived (The king of France, Philip IV possibly aided and abetted by the pope dissolved the Templars, most were executed) albeit under a new name The Order of Christ.
Tourists visit Tomar for a variety of reasons, foremost is the castle of course but there are many other historical attractions in Tomar.
Tomar Castle (Convento do Cristo)
One of the most important monuments in Portugal, it is a huge and highly impressive castle with ornaments that speak of great wealth, built between the 12th and the 16th centuries this truly beautiful building is a must see.
Aqueduct of Pegões
Another seriously impressive piece of architecture is the aqueduct, built to carry water to the castle in the 16th and 17th centuries this 6 km construction can be viewed along its entirety and you can even get a tourist bus to the uppermost point to get the best view. This beautiful construction was commissioned by Philip 1st during the Spanish occupation known as the Philippine dynasty.
Church of Santa Maria do Olival:
Built as the Templar burial site this 13th century Gothic church was a hugely important church in Medieval times, we know this because of the papal bulls that were sanctioned here. The papal bulls gave the Templars (by now the order of Christ) sweeping powers in newly discovered countries.
Church of Saint John the Baptist
In Tomar’s picturesque main square is unsurprisingly its main church. It is located directly opposite the Camera (Town Hall). Construction took place in the 15th and 16th centuries and has many different styles of art and architecture. From the 16th century clock on its Manueline tower or its ornate Gothic portal right through to the Gregório Lopes panels that he painted in the 16th century.
These are but a few of the things to do and see in Tomar, great reasons to visit, better reasons to live there.