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Tomar, a small town in Central Portugal that hosts 2 remarkable festivals and a Templar building.

Location: Tomar is located about 150 kms north of Lisbon; 30 kms south east of Fatima at 39o36'13.21''N 8o25'03.08''W.

In an otherwise unremarkable country town, there is a remarkable massive fortified convent/monastery the Convento do Cristo.

Each Spring (usually in April) the town hosts the Templar Tuna Festival. University musical societies compete serenading their “loved” ones. Free concerts occur throughout the day in the old town square. Tickets for the evening concert sell out quickly.

Also, every four years, (next event 2019) local women parade with elaborate towering headwear in the Trays Festival (Festa dos Tabulieros).

The convent dominates the town from its hilltop location. It was founded by the Knights Templar in the 12th century. It is a blend of Romanesque, Gothic, Manueline styles. One can, and will, get lost among the cloisters, rooms and stairwells in the building. Allow 2 to 3 hours to explore. There is a small cafe and souvenir shop on the grounds.

Although the convent is the town's main attraction, another religious place of interest is a medieval synagogue, now a museum, in the town's old sector.

Just outside town is an aqueduct, built in the 17th century, to carry water to the Convent.

Unless you are a collector, one can easily take a miss of the Matchbox museum, reputed to be the largest in the world.

We found the Bela Vista restaurant at Rua Marquês de Pombal, 68, a good place for a meal. It is on the river. At the time of our visit, the staff spoke only Portuguese. However, they were attentive and sought to explain the menu through pictures and gestures.

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joe

500+ Posts
Thanks for posting this - made me check the websites. Very impressive architecture, the aqueduct is amazing.
If I didn't like Italy so much, I'm pretty sure Portugal would be on my radar for travel.
 

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