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Rambling in Tomar

 

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.

07 Tomar(small church in Tomar)

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.

08 Tomar
(Monument near the old city of Tomar)

15 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.

10 Tomar
IMG_9842 - Copy(The heart of historic Tomar is Republic Square)

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.
02 Tomar
The square and surrounding streets are lined with pleasant cafes and shops, including the cafe shown below where we enjoyed lunch that day.
03 Tomar

Opposite the church in Republic Square is Tomar's City Hall, housed in the former Palace of King D. Manuel....
05 Tomar
A statue located in center of Praca da Republica is of a local hero, Gualdim Pais, who is regarded as the founder and savior or Tomar.  Mr. Pais fought against the Moors when Portugal was a fledgling state.  He then went to the Holy Land and fought with the Knights Templar in the Crusades.  On his return to Portugal, he remained in the Knights Templar and supervised the building of its famous castle, and was instrumental in the successful defense of Tomar against a vast Moorish army in 1190.
04 Tomar
(Statue of Gualdim Pais, "savior" of Tomar)
06 Tomar
The surrounding streets are lined with traditional shops, many with facades covered by lovely Portuguese tile.,,,
16 Tomar
I like the use of turquoise-colored chairs as a decoration in this particular structure....
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The Nabão River flows through the middle of Tomar, and is adjoined by Mouchão Park, a beautiful, shaded stretch of green.
19 Tomar
20 Tomar(The Nabão River and Mouchão Park)
While walking along the river, take time to explore the Mouchão Wheel, a working wooden water wheel.
22 Tomar
A recommended place at which to stay during your visit to Tomar is the Hotel dos Templarios, a very reasonably priced four-star hotel situated just outside the old portion of the city.  The large structure at the top left of the photo below is the hotel.....
11 Tomar
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Our visit to Tomar was much too brief.  If our travels ever bring us back to Portugal, and I hope they do, I plan on taking a few extra days to explore more of Tomar and its surroundings.  A very recommended destination.

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Twitter: @DrFumblefinger

"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie

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