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The History of the City of Tomar in Portugal

Tomar is renowned as one of the most beautiful cities and Portugal and it’s for sure a place that you have to visit while in the Iberia. The city is located in the middle of the country and it’s surrounded by amazing landscapes. It is divided in two by the Nabao River. This city it’s often described as the jewellery of Portugal thanks to its picturesque landscape and history filled walls. The city was founded in 1162 by Dom Gualdim Pais, the Grand Master of the Order of the Templars. He was in the service of the first King of Portugal, Dom Afonso Henriques. The legend says that the city was enforced after Dom Guadim and his knights managed to defend the fortress of Tomar from the Moroccan invaders. The King understood the strategic position and ordered the enforcement of the citadel. The city was awarded to the Order of Templars as a reward for their courage during battle.

The Convent of Christ is one of the main attractions in Tomar. It was built in the 12th century and held as a stronghold for the Templars. The city was one of the main citadels for the Order of Templars during Medieval times. The Convent of Christ is built in Manueline style, a traditional architecture style that combines Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance.

In 1314, under the Pope Clement V who wanted the templars to be banned, all the possessions and the city itself was transferred to the Order of Christ. Tomar was the centre of Portuguese discoveries during the 15th century. Almost all the maritime routes were planned within the walls of Tomar. Henry the Navigator, the son of King John I of Portugal planned all his expeditions in Tomar. Here is the start point of all the conquests and the place from which countries like Brazil were colonized. Soon, the navigation school of Tomar opened its gates to the future navigators. In 1492 with the expulsion of Jews from Spain the city grew immensely in populations thanks to the waves of refugees. The multicultural atmosphere of the city allowed them to flourish and the Jewish synagogue stands as proof.

Tomar also preserves the atmosphere of multiculturalism. The Jewish Synagogue exists since the 15th century, standing as a proof of the diversity of Tomar. In the 18th century Tomar was one of the leaders of industry in Portugal. The city flourished thanks to the textile industry and new technology was used to develop silk, paper art glass workshops. Tomar was occupied by France during the reign of Napoleon and the citizens soon rebelled against the French troops. In 1834 all the religious orders were disbanded from the city.

Tomar holds a very rich historical background. It was the starting point for many maritime expeditions and the battleground between powerful European actors. The walls still stand as witnesses for the agitated and rich background of the city. This gorgeous city is a must see if you are in the country of Portugal any time soon.

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