View of the town of Tomar and the Nabão river
|Intermunic. comm.||Médio Tejo|
|• President||Anabela Freitas (PS)|
|• Total||351.20 km2 (135.60 sq mi)|
|• Density||120/km2 (300/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC±00:00 (WET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+01:00 (WEST)|
|Local holiday||March 1|
Tomar (Portuguese pronunciation: [tuˈmaɾ] ( listen )), also known in English as Thomar, is a city and a municipality in the Santarém district of Portugal. The town proper has a population of about 20,000. The municipality population in 2011 was 40,677, in an area of 351.20 km2 (135.60 sq mi).
The town of Tomar was born inside the walls of the Convento de Cristo, constructed under the orders of Gualdim de Pais, the fourth grand master of the Knights Templar in the late 12th century.
Tomar is one of Portugal's historical jewels and, more significantly, was the last Templar town to be commissioned for construction. Tomar was especially important in the 15th century when it was a center of Portuguese overseas expansion under Henry the Navigator, the Grand Master of the Order of Christ, successor organization to the Templars in Portugal.
Tomar lies in the most fertile region of Portugal, and one of the most fertile in the whole of the Iberian Peninsula: the Ribatejo ("by the river Tagus") meadows. It is located in the district of Santarém. The predominant treescape is agricultural, consisting of olive, pine and fig trees.
The seat of the municipality is the city of Tomar, which comprises the parishes of Santa Maria dos Olivais and São João Batista. Tomar is also the capital of the Médio Tejo (Mid-Tagus river) region.
The Nabão River cuts across what was the ancient city of Nabantia: its inhabitants are called Nabantinos.
Administratively, the municipality is divided into 11 civil parishes ( freguesias ):
Under the modern city lies the Roman city of Sellium . After the conquest of the region from the Moors in the Portuguese Reconquista, the land was granted in 1159 as a fief to the Order of the Knights Templar. In 1160, Gualdim Pais, the Order's Grand Master in Portugal and Tomar's somewhat mythical founder, laid the first stone of the Castle and Convent of the Knights Templar that would become the headquarters of the Order in Portugal.
Local traditional legends preach that the choice was for mystical reasons and by divine inspiration, and from practices by the Grand Master of geomancy, based on exercises taken from luck and predestination. Reinforcing this magical view is the setting of the site among a small chain of seven elevations (lugar dos sete montes), which became known as the city of seven hills, as the seven hills of Jerusalem, the seven hills of Rome or the seven columns of Constantinople.
The foral or feudal contract was granted in 1162 by the Grand Master to the people. The Templars ruled from Tomar a vast region of central Portugal which they pledged to defend from Moorish attacks and raids. Like many lords of the unpopulated former frontier region of central Portugal, the villagers were given relatively liberal conditions in comparison with those of the northern regions of Portugal, in order to attract new immigrants. Those inhabitants who could sustain a horse were obliged to pay military service in return for privileges. They were not allowed the title of Knight which was reserved to the Templars. Women were also admitted to the Order, although they did not fight.
In 1190 Abu Yusuf al-Mansur, a Moroccan caliph, and his army attacked Tomar. However the crusader Knights and their 72-year-old leader, Gualdim Pais, kept them at bay. A plaque commemorates this bloody battle at the Porta do Sangue at the Castelo Templário (Castle of Tomar).
In 1314, under pressure from the Pope Clement V, the order was suppressed. The French king (Philip IV), who owed the Templars huge debts, held the pope a virtual prisoner and coerced him to suppress the order on bases of false accusations and forced confessions. The Order was suppressed in most of Europe and its holdings were to be transferred to the Knights Hospitalers. Instead, King Dinis negotiated the transfer of the Order's possessions and personnel in Portugal to a newly created Order of Christ. This Order moved in 1319 to Castro Marim, but in 1356 it returned to Tomar.
In the 15th century and thereafter, the (cleric) Grand Master of the Order was nominated by the Pope and the (lay) Master or Governor by the King, instead of being elected by the monks.
Henry the Navigator was made the Governor of the Order, and it is believed that he used the resources and knowledge of the Order to succeed in his enterprises in Africa and in the Atlantic. The cross of the Order of Christ that was painted in the sails of the caravels that crossed the seas, and the Catholic missions in the new lands were under the authority of the Tomar clerics until 1514.
Henry, enriched by his overseas enterprises, was the first ruler to ameliorate the buildings of the Convento de Cristo since its construction by Gualdim Pais. He also ordered dams to be built to control the river Nabão and swamps to be drained. This allowed the burgeoning town to attract more settlers. Henry ordered the new streets to be designed in a rational, geometrical fashion, as they can still be seen today.
In 1438, King Duarte, who had fled Lisbon because of the Black Death, died here.
Just after 1492 with the expulsion of the Jews from Spain, the town increased further with Jewish refugee artisans and traders. The very large Jewish minority dynamized the city with new trades and skills. Their experience was vital in the success of the new trade routes with Africa. The original synagogue still stands.
In the reign of Manuel I of Portugal the convent took its final form within the Manueline renaissance style. With the growing importance of the town as master of Portugal's overseas empire, the leadership of the Order was granted to the King by the Pope.
However, under pressure from the monarchs of Spain, the King soon proclaimed by Edict that all the Jews remaining within the territory of Portugal would be after a short period considered Christians, although simultaneously he forbade them to leave, fearing that the exodus of Jewish men of knowledge and capital would harm Portugal's burgeoning commercial empire. Jews were largely undisturbed as nominal Christians for several decades, until the establishment of a Tribunal of the Portuguese Inquisition by the initiative of the clergy in the town. Under persecution, wealthier Jews fled, while most others were forced to convert.
Hundreds of both Jews and New Christians were arrested, tortured and about 1,000 were you executed in autos da fé, in a frenzy of persecution that peaked around 1550. Many others (c. 38,000) were expropriated of their property or penance. Jewish ascendancy, more than Jewish religion, together with personal wealth determined whom would be persecuted, since the expropriations reverted to the institution of the Inquisition itself. The town lost then, with the persecution of its merchants and professionals, most of its relevance as a trading centre. New Christian names among the inhabitants are very common today.
In 1581 the city was the seat of the Portuguese Cortes (Feudal Parliament) which acclaimed the King of Spain Felipe II as Portugal's Filipe I.
During the 18th century Tomar was one of the first regions of Portugal to develop industry. In the reign of Maria I, with royal support, a textile factory of Jácome Ratton was established against the opposition of the Order. The hydraulic resources of the river Nabão were used to supply energy to this and many other factories, namely paper factories, foundries, glassworks, silks and soaps.
Tomar was occupied by the French during the Napoleonic invasions, against which it rebelled. The Duke of Wellington, with his Portuguese and English troops, liberated the city afterwards.
In 1834 all the religious orders, including the Order of Christ, were disbanded.
Tomar is twinned with:
Tomar attracts many tourists because of its varied monuments. These include:
The streets and squares of the picturesque centre of Tomar are organised following a chessboard pattern, a rare feature for a mediaeval city, instituted by Prince Henry The Navigator, which later inspired the pattern used for the rebuilding of Lisbon after the earthquake in 1755. Scattered throughout the town there are many interesting houses with Renaissance, Baroque and Romantic façades. By the river Nabão, near the bridge, there is a park and garden that offer nice views of the city and surroundings.
Tomar has several schools including primary, junior high school, high schools and a Politechnic. These include:
The Municipal holiday day is March 1, and commemorates the day when the Templars Master D.Gualdim founded the Templar City in 1160.
The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon, also known as the Order of Solomon's Temple, the Knights Templar or simply the Templars, were a Catholic military order founded in 1119, headquartered on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem through 1128 when they went to meet with Pope Honorius II. They were recognized in 1139 by the papal bull Omne datum optimum. The order was active until 1312 when it was perpetually suppressed by Pope Clement V by the bull Vox in excelso.
The Castle of Almourol is a medieval castle atop the islet of Almourol in the middle of the Tagus River, located in the civil parish of Praia do Ribatejo, 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) from the municipal seat of Vila Nova da Barquinha, in Portugal's Center Region. The castle was part of the defensive line controlled by the Knights Templar, and a stronghold used during the Portuguese Reconquista.
The Ponta Delgada Football Association is the governing body for association football and futsal competitions in the Portuguese former-district of Ponta Delgada. This organization regulates football in the Azorean islands of São Miguel and Santa Maria.
The Convent of Christ is a former Roman Catholic convent in Tomar, Portugal. Originally a 12th-century Templar stronghold, when the order was dissolved in the 14th century the Portuguese branch was turned into the Knights of the Order of Christ, that later supported Portugal's maritime discoveries of the 15th century. The convent and castle complex is a historic and cultural monument and was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983.
The Military Order of Christ, before 1910 Royal Military Order of Our Lord Jesus Christ, previously the Order of the Knights of Our Lord Jesus Christ, is the former Knights Templar order as it was reconstituted in Portugal after the Templars were abolished on 22 March 1312 by the papal bull, Vox in excelso, issued by Pope Clement V. The Order of Christ was founded in 1319, with the protection of the Portuguese king, Denis, who refused to pursue and persecute the former knights as had occurred in most of the other sovereign states under the political influence of the Catholic Church.
Dom Gualdim Pais, a Portuguese crusader, Knight Templar in the service of Afonso Henriques of Portugal. He was the founder of the city of Tomar.
The Church of Santa Maria do Olival is a Roman Catholic church in the city of Tomar, in Portugal. The Church has been characterized as National Monument since 1910.
Costa de Caparica is a Portuguese civil parish, located in the municipality of Almada along the western coast of the district of Setúbal. The population in 2011 was 13,418, in an area of 10.18 km2. Since 9 December 2004, the Costa de Caparica has been designated as city within the urban hierarchy of Portugal.
Monsanto is a village in the civil parish of Monsanto e Idanha-a-Velha, in the municipality of Idanha-a-Nova, District of Castelo Branco, Portugal. In 2011, it covered an area of 131.76 km² and had 828 inhabitants. Monsanto would become popularly known as "the most Portuguese village of Portugal" due to a government-sponsored competition that awarded twelve historic villages the distinction of Most Portuguese Village of their own province in 1938, and Monsanto the coveted epithet of Most Portuguese Village of Portugal which was the 1st prize in the competition.
The Synagogue of Tomar is a well-preserved medieval synagogue in Tomar, Portugal. Along with the Synagogue of Castelo de Vide, it is one of two existing pre-expulsion synagogues in the country. It is located at 73 Rua Dr. Joaquim Jaquinto in Tomar's historic city center. Built in the mid-1400s, the building was active as a synagogue only until 1496, when Jews were expelled from Portugal. It now houses the Abraham Zacuto Portuguese Jewish Museum.
Alcains is a Portuguese civil parish in the municipality of Castelo Branco. The population in 2011 was 5,022, in an area of 36.94 km².
Loures is a city and a municipality in the central Portuguese Grande Lisboa Subregion. It is situated 13 km to the north of Lisbon. It was created on 26 July 1886 by a royal decree. The population in 2011 was 199,494, in an area of 167.24 km². It borders the municipalities of Odivelas, Sintra, Mafra, Arruda dos Vinhos, Vila Franca de Xira and Lisbon. The municipality is basically divided in three areas: the rustic one, to the north, the urban one, to the south and the urban-industrial, to the east. Portela de Sacavém is the site of Portugal's largest airport.
The Castle of Abrantes overlooks the city of Abrantes, in the municipality of Abrantes in the district of Santarém, Ribatejo, divided between the two civil parishes of São João and São Vicente. It was part of the Reconquista fortifications that made up the Linha do Tejo, a line of castles and outposts during the Middle Ages, recently integrated into a tourist region called the Região de Turismo dos Templários.
The Castle of Castelo Branco, is a Portuguese medieval castle in civil parish of Castelo Branco, in the municipality of the same name, in the Centro district of Castelo Branco. Known locally, as the Castelo dos Templários, the Romanesque castle was constructed under the orders of King Afonso II of Portugal in 1214.
The Castle of Pombal, is a medieval castle in the civil parish of Pombal, municipality of the same name in the district of Leiria in the Centre region of Portugal.
The Church of Saint John the Baptist is a 15th-century Catholic church in Tomar, Portugal that was built by King Manuel I and is of Manueline architecture. As its name implies, the church is dedicated to Saint John the Baptist. It has been classified as a National Monument since 1910.
The Military Order of Christ was founded in 1318. The order, in all essence of the word, were 'Knights Templar' whom continued their operations from their headquarters in Tomar, Santarém Portugal. Contrary to the belief that the Templar Order was renamed and established by King Denis of Portugal, the Templars merely moved backed to their original headquarters in Tomar Castle which was an autonomous zone granted to the Templar Order. Reasons for this move and change of name were to protect the vast assets of the order from repatriation by the Catholic Church. The Templar assets were then transferred over to the Cavaleiros de Cristo. All with the blessing of King Diniz who helped pull off the deal with the Church.
The Festa dos Tabuleiros or Festa do Divino Espírito Santo, takes place every four years in July in Tomar, Portugal. This festival is an ancient tradition and the most important celebrated in the city, attracting people from all over the world. It is held every four years, the last one being held between June 29 to July 8, 2019. The local population parades in pairs with the girls carrying tabuleiros on their heads. The tabuleiro is made of 30 stacked pieces of bread, either in 6 rows of 5 or 5 rows of 6, decorated with flowers. At the top of the tabuleiro is a crown which normally contains either a white dove, symbolising the Holy Spirit, or the esfera armilar, a symbol of the historical Portuguese maritime expansion, and over the sphere, the cross of the Order of Christ.
The Ordem Militar de Cristo, the full name of which is the Military Order of Our Knights of Lord Jesus Christ, is a Portuguese honorific Order which takes its name from the extinct Order of Christ (1834), which is given for distinguished service in the performance of functions in sovereign positions or public administration, and for the judiciary and diplomacy, which is seen as being particularly distinguished.
The Castle Idanha-a-Nova is a medieval castle located in Idanha-a-Nova, in the District of Castelo Branco, Portugal.
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