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What to See in Tomar, Portugal

Tomar is considered by many as one of the many jewels of Portugal. The city is almost 1000 years old and had witnessed some of the key events in the history of Europe. Being at the border between European and African cultures, it holds symbols of both civilizations. Its rich cultural and religious background can be seen at almost every corner. We have prepared a list of some of the most amazing locations to visit in Tomar.

The Convent of Christ was built in the 12th century by the founder of the city, the Grand Master of the Order of templars. It is an example of traditional architecture mixed with elements from the Holy land.  The building was updated during the 16th century in the Manueline style. This is a mixture between Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance. It is definitely worth visiting. The city we see nowadays was built around the Covent of Christ at the order of the first King of Portugal after the templars managed to resist the Moroccan invasion.

The next thing on your list should be the Jewish synagogue. Now it is the host of Abraham Zacuto Luso Hebrew Museum. You can find many objects from distant times in this museum. It is another symbol of the multiculturalism of Tomar. Jewish people first came as refugees here in the 15th century from Spain. The city offered them all the conditions to flourish and the 15th century synagogue is the best proof. Its architecture reminds of the traditional synagogue style, with a Portuguese twist.

The Centre of Contemporary Art is suitable for those who want to have a taste from recent Portuguese art. It houses the collection of one of the most important art historians from the 20th century, Jose-Augusto Franca. If you want to have a little break from your cultural incursion, go visit Mouchao Park. Aside from the relaxed atmosphere you can also see the Mouchao water wheel. This is a landmark that reminds of distant days in which water power was the main source of energy for the emerging industry.

The Church of Santa Maria do Olival is the resting place for many templars. Perhaps the most renowned one is the tomb of Dom Gualdim Pais, the founder of Tomar. He died in 1195. The architecture of the church is specific for the Gothic period. This edifice was built in the 13th century.

The Church of Saint John the Baptist dates from the 16th century and can be found in the centre of the city, across from the municipality. It has many interesting artistic details that combine the Gothic style with the local Manueline. Museu Dos Fosforos is the largest matchbox museum in Europe. All the street of Tomar are organized in chessboard pattern, a unique feature for the Medieval ages. Some of the streets are still paved with the original cobblestone, making your walks through the city even more authentic. Tomar is definitely a very interesting city to visit if you are ever in Portugal.

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