A revival of the past, its a fact that, to understanding the future we have to learn about the our ancestors.
And this is evident in Portugal, we need to imagine the importance of this important religious Order in the future Country Portugal and also the importance that Portugal had for the growth of the Order.
Templars, who were they ?The Military Order of the Temple was founded in France, in the Champagne region, in the year 1120 in the context of the establishment of the Council of Nablus, one of the most popular military orders of medieval Christian Europe, created to protect the pilgrimage movement to the Holy Places of christianity in the Middle East, under increasing ascendancy of Islamic power.We begin our Tour with a visit to the “Almourol castle” located on a small island that was already inhabited at the time of the Roman occupation of the Iberian peninsula (today’s Portugal and Spain’s territory), and occupied by the Muslims from the eighth century. During the Christian reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula, Almourol was conquered by D. Afonso Henriques (Afonso I, first king of Portugal), in 1129, and was given to the Order of Knights Templar, which was responsible for the reconstruction of the castle, giving it the characteristics of Templar fortifications. With the extinction of the Knights Templar in europe in 1311, King Dinis gave the castle to the Order of Christ (The Knight of Templar order in Portugal changed the name and created this new Order of Christ, thus avoiding prosecution from the church). The 1755 earthquake caused many damages in its structure and during the following century some changes were made to its original architecture.So, let’s follow our Knights Templar Tour in direction of the city of Tomar , beginning our visit with the Templar Castle / Convent of Christ, the Templar Order’s headquarters until 1314, and the Order of Christ, from 1357. The castle itself was founded in 1160. Optional lunch near the Nabao River in Tomar’s city center. After lunch we continue our Knights Templar Tour by visiting the oldest Portuguese Synagogue, like most of all Jewish places of worship in the Christian world, the interior of the little synagogue in Tomar is a big surprise its roof is supported by four columns representing the mothers of Israel: Sarah, Rachel, Rebecca and Leah, linked by 12 arches, symbolising the 12 tribes of Israel with four terracotta jars in the corners that serve as natural amplifiers.
The temple was commissioned by Infante D. Henrique, Henry the Navigator, for whom the Jewish community financed most of the Discoveries project.In 1496 the jews are expelled from Portugal and the synagogue was closed down, used for various purposes during centuries, when it was bought by Dr. Samuel Schwarz, who donated it to the State, on the condition that the Museu Luso-Hebraico was installed there.