Convent of Christ

Tomar, Portugal

Convent of Christ is the name usually given to the monument ensemble consisting of the Templar Castle of Tomar, the Order of Christ convent of Rebirth, the conventual wall - now known as the Seven Hills Woods, the Immaculate Conception Hermitage and the conventual aqueduct also known as the Pegões Aqueduct. The castle had its foundation in 1160 and comprised the walled village, the yard and the military house situated between the Master´s house - the Alcáçova (fortified citadel with a sovereign residence), the knight's round-shaped Oratorium known as Charola, finished in 1190.

In 1420, as headquarters of the Order of Christ, Infante D. Henrique, o Navegador, (Henry the Navigator) transforms the military house into a convent to be used by the contemplative clergymen that he introduced into the Order and adapts the Alcáçova as his seigniorial home.

In the beginning of the 16th century, D. Manuel I, King and Governor of the Order of Christ extends the Templar Rotunda to the west, with a new construction beyond the walls, laden with decorative motifs celebrating the Portuguese maritime discoveries, the mysticism of the Order of Christ and the Crown in a grandiose manifestation of power and faith.

With the reform by King John III of the Order of Christ from 1531 onwards, a grand convent of rebirth, opposite the western wing of the castle and surrounded by the Manueline Nave. The convent is finished with the construction of the 6km long aqueduct by the hand of King Philip II of Spain (Philip I of Portugal), and with the construction of the Infirmary and the Pharmacy in the era after the independence Restoration War.

This group of spaces, built throughout the centuries, makes the Convent of Christ a grandiose monument complex that earned the UNESCO Heritage of Mankind distinction.

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