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Tomar (Santarém)

Tomar is a beautiful city, the seat of the county, of the Center of the Country, located on the beautiful banks of the river Nabão, in the Ribatejana and one of the historical cities of Portugal, with so much to tell and to see.

This is a region occupied by Men from long ago, presenting the beautiful valley of the Nabão vestiges that retreat to the Paleolithic period.
In the place of the present Tomar already existed the Roman cities of “Nabantia” and “Sellium”.
Conquered to the Moors in 1147 by the first Portuguese King, D. Afonso Henriques, it was then donated to the Templars in 1159. The Grand Master of this Order, Dom Gualdim Pais, began in 1160 the construction of the Castle and Convent that would become the headquarters of the Templars in Portugal, and later the Order of Christ, and is now a World Heritage Site, classified by UNESCO.
Tomar was one of the bastions of defense of the Country, and a privileged defensive location, which developed and gained importance over the centuries.

In the 15th century, the Infante Dom Henrique (1394-1460) significantly increased the size of the city by diverting the river Nabão, allowing drainage of marshes and preventing floods.

With the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492, the city welcomed a large number of craftsmen, professionals, and merchants refugees, giving a new development to the whole region, vital to the success of the Portuguese Discoveries. It is worth to visit the Jewish Quarter and the original Synagogue.
After the expulsion of the Jews from Luso territory, Tomar loses much of its strength, but in the eighteenth century, it retakes it, with the opening of the Royal Factory by the Marquis of Pombal, with an innovative hydraulic mechanism.

 

The Heritage of Tomar is very rich, standing out monuments like the Church of São João Baptista of the XV century; the churches of Nossa Senhora da Conceição (16th century) and the churches of Santa Maria dos Olivais, dating back to the thirteenth century, at the time the headquarters of all the Portuguese churches in Africa, Asia and America; the Convents of Santa Iria (where it says the legend was martyred to Santa Iria) and the one of San Francisco of century XVII; the Hermitage of St. Gregory of the sixteenth century; or the important Aqueduct of Pegões built in the 16th century to supply the Convent of Christ.
There is much more to see and see in this enchanting Templar city, such as the curious Matches Museum, or the Luso-Hebrew Museum, as well as the fantastic Mouchão Park, with beautiful gardens crossed by the river Nabão, among many other attractions.

The traditional Feast of Tabuleiros, held every four years in July, for three days, is one of the attractions of the city, attracting a large number of visitors from Brazil and abroad, attracted by the beauty and symbolism of this festivity. This popular festival of pagan origin is characterized by the parade of women with ornate trays of bread, spices, and flowers on their heads, wearing beautiful typical costumes. At the same time, the Boys’ Courts, the Butler’s Courtship, the Partial Courts, the streets decorated by the population, the Arraiais and the Popular Games and the Pêza are also held.

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