Seven centuries of history

The Convent's seven centuries of existence span through the most significant moments of Portuguese history

By Convent of Christ

Convent of Christ - aerial view (1101/1699)Convent of Christ

A convent of enormous importance

The Convent of Christ and the Knights Templar Castle are part of one of the largest monument complexes of peninsular and European architecture. 

With the foundation of Tomar by the Knights Templar, the castle is erected in 1160. Its fortified space was perceived as an example of efficiency for military architecture.

Laundry Cloister (1420/1426) by Fernão Gonçalves (?)Convent of Christ

With the extinction of the Knights Templar in 1312, the castle became the headquarters of the Order of Christ. Under the administration of Infante D. Henrique (1420-1460), conventual quarters around two gothic-styled cloisters were built - the Washing cloister and the Cemetery.

The Ambulatory viewed from the Southern Gate (1160/1160)Convent of Christ

The Charola - one of the rare and emblematic round-shaped temples in medieval Europe - was inspired by the Jerusalem's Saint Sepulcher paleochristian basilica.

Southern gate of the church (1160/1250)Convent of Christ

Its entrance faced the east until King Manuel´s works - carried out by João de Castilho - made it south facing,

The Manueline nave´s profuse sculpting ornamentation was a mark of this era, which through paintings with symbolic motifs, both architectural and figurative, extends towards the interior of the Charola.

In the upper part of the ambulatory walls, murals describe scenes from the Book of Genesis and of the New Testament.

The Charola's ambulatory (1501/1599)Convent of Christ

In the middle part of the walls, large-scale paintings on wood - by Jorge Afonso - represent scenes from Christ's life.

The Ascent of Christ (1510/1515) by Jorge Afonso (?)Convent of Christ

The Ambulatory of the Charola (16th century)Convent of Christ

The images on polychromatic wood representing the prophets and holy priests of the Church were done by Olivier de Gant and Fernão de Muñoz.

S. Jerome (1510/1519) by Olivier de GandConvent of Christ

Main Cloister (1501/1599)Convent of Christ

When D. João III became King of Portugal in 1528, a profound reform in the Order of Christ took place - religious friars were now confined to strict observance in a life of closure. In order to accomplish his goal, a new and grandiose convent was built organised around five renaissance-styled cloisters.

Spiral staircase of the Main Cloister (16th century)Convent of Christ

Convent of Christ - detail of aqueduct (1501/1599) by Filipe TerziConvent of Christ

With the arrival of the Philippine Kings of Spain to the Portuguese throne the Southern facade will be altered with the addition of the grand Convent Aqueduct - the most striking work during the Philippine period.

Templar Castle and Convent of Christ - northeastern aerial view (1101/1699)Convent of Christ

In 1983, Tomar Castle and the Convent of Christ - headquarters for the religious and military orders of the Temple and of Christ - were awarded the UNESCO Heritage of Mankind classification.

Credits: Story

Coordination:
Andreia Galvão (Director, Convent of Christ)

Text:
Convent of Christ

Digital production:
Luis Ramos Pinto (Directorate-General for Cultural Heritage)

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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