Convent of Christ, Tomar, Portugal

The monastery of Tomar, also called the Convent of Christ is no less than a masterpiece! The building is a unique combination of church, fortress, castle and convent. The design and details speaks volumes of the architectsโ€™ brilliance! To name just one most marvel work here would be difficult, yet I will say the exterior view of north window of the church is something which should not be missed. There are other stunning marvels too!

History of Convent of Christ, Tomar

Foundation to this military monument dates back to 1159 AD. The medieval town of Tomar was established on land granted by the first King of Portugal to Knights Templar. They played the crucial role in gaining independence for Portugal in 1190 AD. It was the seat of power for Knights Templar till 13th century. The castle also played the role of defending the land from Moors. In 1319, the Templar Order was dissolved and Pope John XXII instituted Order of Christ. The round church here was built in second half of 12th century; it is believed to be modeled on The Church of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem.

This famous round church (rotunda) of the Convent of Tomar was built in the second half of the 12th century.Main Church of Convent of Christ, TomarThe entrance has abundant Manueline motifs and statues of the Virgin with the Child as well as the Prophets of the Old Testament.Rotunda Tomar

During the 14th and 15th centuries many additions and modifications were done the monuments. Two cloisters, the Chapel of Sรฃo Jorge sometime in 1426, sacristy that connected the choir to the Chapel of Sรฃo Jorge, the convent was expanded (1492), the chapterhouse, main altar, ironworks for the niche/archway, paintings and sculptures (for the same) and the choir were all expanded or remodeled during this period. Manuel I rebuild gothic nave of Henry the navigator in a new style which was a mix of gothic and renaissance. This style came to be known as Manueline style of architecture.

During 1581 to 1640 the Kingdoms of Portugal and Spain were united. In 1810 this convent was converted to barracks, causing a lot of damage to the monument. Convent of Christ, Tomar was included in UNESCO World heritage list.

Interior of the Round church decorated with late Gothic painting and sculpture.Tomar Church Interiors

What to see!

What I got to see inside this Convent of Christ, Tomar made me happy that I was wise to visit this place. As I entered the complex, the church of Convent of Christ was sighted first. (Topmost picture.) We were the first tourists there for the day. And for a good part of the tour we didnโ€™t find any other tourist. We had a brief interaction with the ticketing officials too.

The famous chapter house window in west facade, made by Diogo de Arruda in 1510-1513.West Facade Window Convent TomarMore pictures in next part…

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49 Responses

  1. sylviakirk says:

    What an incredible and beautiful place, Indrani!! And superb captures as always!! And thank you, as always for sharing the beauty and the history!! I do hope your new year is off to a great start!! Enjoy!!

  2. Beautiful church with such rich history! Love the close ups of the exterior carvings!

    Donna@GardensEyeView
    and LivingFromHappiness

  3. Judith@Lavender Cottage says:

    Amazing architecture and opulence, lucky you to see it in person.

  4. TexWisGirl says:

    so neat and so old (by ‘new world’ standards). ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Vaish says:

    Beautiful captures. Always the old buildings are fascinating, good to know the fact behind this majestic Convent.

  6. Rajesh says:

    The architecture of the building is mind blowing.

  7. NatureStop says:

    What a lovely place and the architecture is fascinating. Have a great 2016!!

    Shantana

  8. Arun says:

    The window looks beautiful.

  9. Marvellous place, described with very nice images.

  10. Amazing. Superb clicks

  11. David says:

    Quite a lot of the best architecture around the world seems to have been dedicated to the Gods!

  12. Tessy S M says:

    Thank you Indrani for sharing this ‘feast for the eyes’ during this Holy Season. I made a virtual pilgrimage to this ‘Holy Places’ by going through your post.

  13. Its lovely! Thanks for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. What a realistic looking sculpture of Christ. Thanks for sharing this beautiful old convent and it’s architectural splendor with us, Indrani. Greetings Jo

  15. Bob says:

    Old yet beautiful.

  16. Niranjan says:

    Majestic architecture. Nice captures.

  17. Nice Photographs, Indrani.. Very interesting!

  18. eileen says:

    What a gorgeous old church! Lovely tour and photos. Have a happy week!

  19. Breathtaking captures..nice to know the history of the Convent. The old buildings are so very fascinating.

  20. Superb clicks, Indrani, with a great account on its history and importance. ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. The details are marvelous and so is the history of the place. If I’m ever in Portugal I will have to visit this wonderful castle/convent/church/fortess!

  22. Wow, Beautiful place nicely captured.

  23. The presentation of this unique combination of church, fortress, castle and convent is really amazing.

    Thanks for sharing. Happy New year 2016.

  24. Great architecture!

  25. Beautiful pictures. A great post ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. I have only one to say about the architecture “Awesome”

  27. Maniparna Sengupta Majumder says:

    A truly majestic architecture with a rich historical background.

  28. Great to see your photos! I have always wanted to visit this place. Didn’t know the details were so intricate.

  29. what a lovely place to visit ๐Ÿ™‚ thanks for sharing In ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. Yogi saraswat says:

    During 1581 to 1640 the Kingdoms of Portugal and Spain were united. In 1810 this convent was converted to barracks, causing a lot of damage to the monument. Convent of Christ, Tomar was included in UNESCO World heritage list. Interesting history with grand beautiful pictures . You take a focus on the history of the place , it seems to learn a lot about that particular place . Thank you Indrani ji for producing interesting posts .

  31. Wow, the details in the architecture. I have never been to Portugal, thank you for showing me such a wonderful place. #TravelTuesday

  32. alicesg says:

    Happy New Year to you. Lovely place, hope to get a chance to visit Portugal.

  33. Wow, this place looks pretty impressive with it’s amazing architecture and intricate stone work. It must have been a great place to visit. I love getting somewhere like this before other people start to arrive too. You get great pictures that way!

  34. Sabine says:

    I really love visiting historical buildings from medieval times. There are not that many big ones from the 12th century. It looks like this church was very well maintained and looks really interesting.

  35. It is always wonderful to learn the history of these churches which are age old and still so well preserved. It’s amazing to know that the monastery of Tomar is a combination of church, fortress, castle and convent and the interior painting is just incredible.

  36. Shannon says:

    Wow, that place looks beautiful and knowing the history makes me want to visit it even more! Thanks for the fantastic post, I think I’ll be adding this to my list.

  37. Ambuj says:

    Awesome pics… waiting for the next part!

  38. Majestic architecture and marvellous description! Thanks for enlightening.

  39. This castle is beautiful and evokes strong emotions. I can’t wait to see this place. Thanks for introducing it. You’re always so intrepid.

  40. neha says:

    I didn’t know convent of Christ is as old as 1159 AD. The minute details and intricacies of the architecture have been well maintained. The renaissance time history is quiet interesting. I will put it in my list of places to visit in Portugal

  41. The walls of the church seem to be speaking out its intriguing and at times tumultuous history . Your pictures bring alive the artistry of the architects, sculptors, and painters who have worked on this labour of love and embellished it to remarkable effect. The Place is really beautiful and has a mystical aura around it.

  42. The story of convent christ of Tomar seems similar to the ones we hear in India. Your blog post makes me inquisitive about the place. Thanks for sharing!

  43. Jane says:

    Wow, I didn’t know there’s a lot to see in Portugal! I love the architectural structure of the church. It has a rustic look and very detailed. My mom is very religious and i’m sure she would love it if I take her here.

  44. perfect destination for those who love detailed, fascinating architectural designs. never been outside asia.. portugal seems to be a lovely place! thank you for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚

  45. Suruchi says:

    Indeed this is one of the most beautiful convent, church, fortress, and castles. The architecture looks brilliant and so intricate. Your pictures are really amazing.

  46. Marge says:

    The level of intricacy of the carvings and sculptures is really amazing. I am familiar with the story of the Knights Templar, so it’s pretty cool to see their former seat of power. The church doesn’t look like a church at all, it looks more like a castle.

  47. This place is surreal. It has to be one in my bucket list whenever I would be visiting Portugal! It takes me back to the Medieval Age! Game of Thrones feeling is strong here!

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