Tomar Castle sits high on a hill above the city of Tomar in Central Portugal.

Tomar - castle

Tomar - castle

During the 12th century, Tomar was the religious centre for the Knights Templar. This secretive and powerful religious order once ruled from the Convento de Cristo and this expansive religious complex is regarded as one of Portugal’s finest national monuments.

Tomar - castle Templar Knights

Tomar castle - Templar Knights

There is much written about this place and is worthwhile researching further if you are interested in history, art and architecture. If you have the opportunity to visit this place, you will not be disappointed.

Tomar - castle

I was attracted to this place by watching a couple of videos on the net and quickly put it onto our travel calendar. Oh and of course the blue and white tiles were an added incentive.

Tomar - castle tiles

When we visited in late April, we had the entire place practically to ourselves. It was relatively cheap to enter and with no guided tours or audio guides, we were just happy to wander around being surprised at each and every turn. The lead up to the castle, its gardens and welcoming steps were just the beginning as you walk up to the magnificent Manueline entrance.

Tomar - castle gardens

Tomar castle - outside

Tomar - castle

Tomar - castle

Tomar - castle door

I zoomed in on the outline of the door to capture these little statues.

Tomar - castle door

Step inside to see many differently decorated rooms, lots of cloisters with many photographic opportunities here.

Tomar - castle cloister

Tomar - castle cloister

Tomar - castle cloisters

Tomar - castle rooms

Tomar - castle rooms

Look up to the ceilings and all around to capture lots of interesting things.

Tomar - castle rooms

Look through windows and arches to create your “own picture”.

Tomar - castle windows

Tomar - castle cloisters

Tomar - castle

Tomar - castle cloister

Visiting the refectory and dormitories gave an insight into what life was life for the Templar Knights.

Tomar castle - refectory

On the outside is the famous Manueline window (or Chapterhouse window) which is decorated with sculptural symbolic figures and the Order insignia – the heraldic cross, the armillary sphere, the kingdom´s coat of arms. It also shows some maritime themes – wood, ropes and buoys. There is little statue at the bottom of the window, believed to be the man who designed it.

Tomar castle - Maneuline window

Look around at the architecture covered in yellow moss – it certainly makes for great photos. There’s lots of other windows, staircases and of course the gargoyles.

Tomar castle - outside

Tomar castle - outside

Tomar castle - outside

Tomar castle - outside

Tomar castle - outside

Tomar castle - steps

One of the big drawcards for this place is the unusual church. From the outside, the church is a 16-side polygonal structure, with strong buttresses, round windows and a bell-tower.

Tomar - castle - church

Inside, the round church has a central, octagonal structure, connected by arches to a surrounding gallery. I have never seen a church like this before. You need to just step inside this reasonably small space and look up at the ceiling, the huge decorated columns, paintings, idols and windows.

Tomar - church

Tomar - church

Tomar - church

Tomar - church

Tomar - church

Tomar - church

Tomar - church

Tomar - church

Tomar - church

One can only imagine how many people have walked through this little church brushing up against the columns and inadvertently rubbing off precious artwork. Still its a great opportunity to get up close and see all of those beautiful patterns with so much gold.

Tomar - church

Tomar Castle

Tomar Castle

What a fantastic experience and I have seen many churches and castles.

We didn’t get a chance to see the rest of Tomar but since reading about it more, I think it would be a great idea to return. So much to see. Gotta love Portugal.

Tomar castle Happy Snapper

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