Monday, September 27, 2021

In 2010 the city of Tomar celebrated 850 Years since the famous Castle Walls started to be built, in 1160AD. Here is a brief history of the city.

The region of Tomar has been inhabited for more than 30,000years, with many prehistoric remains, dating from the Paleolithic times. tomar castle

In more recent times, the region experienced the settlements of Nabância (name given by the Lusitano, in honor of the god of water, Nava) and Sellium (founded in the 1st Century by the Emperor Augustus), on the Rio Nabão. At that time the people of the area were devoted to agriculture and mining.

This was followed by invasions by the Barbarians and Visigoths, and in about 712, by the Moors.

The town was taken back from the Moors by King Afonso Henriques in 1147, and donated to the Knights Templar in 1159.

The Master of the Knights Templar, Gualdim Pais, founded the hamlet town of Tomar on 1st March 1160, with the start of the construction of the Castle of Tomar (Castelo de Tomar), based on the ancient Luso-Roman village. The hamlet town got it’s charter in 1162.

After the extinction of the Knights Templar (in 1314), King Dinis received permission in 1319 from Pope John XXII to found the Order of Christ, whose headquarters would be made in Tomar in 1356. The Order was directed by Prince Henrique, who was then residing in the town.

D. Manuel would take the village to a new charter in 1510, that of a Town. In his reign, he created the Glass Factory of Matrena, which lasted until the eighteenth century.

Tomar had a golden period in the Age of Discovery, with the construction of roads in the town, the works of the convent (convento do cristo), synagogue (there was a significant Jewish community), reconstruction of the St. João Baptista, Capela da Nossa Senhora da Conceição (Chapel of Our Lady of Conception) and the St. John the Baptist and the Chapel of St. Gregory (Ermida de São Gregório). tomarconvento

During the Spanish rule, the Cortes of Tomar hailed to King Philip II of Portugal. It was at that time he built the Aqueduto dos Pegões. This was an amazing feat of engineering bringing water to the top of the hill where the castle stood. The aqueduct still stands and it can be climbed for a fantastic view.

Tomar was elevated to city status in 1844, by D. Maria II. During the nineteenth century there were important industrial developments, with mills producing silk, paper and iron.

In recent years, tourism has been developed in the city. It is crossed by Rio Nabão, which is a great place to take a walk or even a trip by peddle boat or canoe. The council, composed of 16 parishes, has about 44,000 inhabitants.

Its monuments range from the Romanesque-Byzantine to Baroque, through Gothic, to the Manueline and one of Central Portugal biggest events the “Festa dos Tabuleiros” which occurs every 4 years. The next one being in July 2011.

If you are visiting this region then a trip to Tomar Castle should be on your ‘must do’ list.

Tomar is situated in the district of Santarem and it approx 150km northeast of Lisbon.