One of the highlights of our recent trip to Portugal was the day we spent in Tomar. Tomar is a smallish city of about 20,000 people -- 40,000 if you count the surrounding municipality -- and pleasantly is only lightly touristed. The city is about 140 km northeast of Lisbon.
The main highlight in Tomar is its castle (Castelo dos Templarios), sitting high on a hill overlooking the city; the Castelo is considered one of Portugal's most important 12th century structures. It was constructed by and for the knights Templar and was listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. I'll write about our visit to this fascinating castle and its church in some detail soon, but today I wanted to focus on the historic old town of Tomar.
(Monument near the old city of Tomar)
(A Medieval Lane in Tomar)
The main square in Tomar is Praça da República (or Republic square). A photo of the old town, with Republic Square at its heart, was used in last weekend's One Clue Mystery photo. It was recognized by the incomparable George G -- congratulations as always, George!
The photos below were taken from Castle Hill, looking to the east.
The highlight of Republic Square is the church dedicated to St. John the Baptist (São João Baptista). The top photo of the blog shows a different perspective of the church as viewed from Republic Square. The church was built between the 15th and 16th centuries, but unfortunately was closed when we visited so we couldn't explore its interior (which I think would have been quite interesting). The photo below details its bell/clocktower.
Opposite the church in Republic Square is Tomar's City Hall, housed in the former Palace of King D. Manuel....