Tomar was established as the religious centre for the Knights Templar by the Grand Master Gualdim Pais in 1160. The lands of Tomar were gifted to Gualdim Pais for his religious order services during the Battle of Ourique in which the Christian crusaders defeated the North African Moors. This close association of the Knights Templar with the Portuguese monarchy allowed the establishment of the Order of Christ after Pope Clement V disbanded the Knights Templar in 1312. There is much evidence about, that the Knights Templar continued their work through the Order of Christ. It is widely believed that the Order of Christ provided the knowledge and funding that began the “Portuguese Age of Discovery” in which Portuguese explorers crossed the oceans. Even after the dissolving of religious orders in 1835, the Knights remained afoot. The Portuguese head of state is still regarded as grand master in many circles.
The building in the picture is the Convento de Cristo. Part monastry, part convent, part church, part castle and a fort at the same time. The place is huge.