by David Allan-Petale
I love a good castle. As far as I’m concerned, going inside an ancient fortification beats the vaulted interior of any church. (I’m a sufferer of ABC syndrome; Another Bloody Cathedral.) So I was very excited about checking out the Convento de Cristo in Portugal, which was founded by the crusading Order of the Knights Templar.
There are a lot of myths and legends about the Templars, so much so they were suppressed by the Pope in the 1300s for being too rich and powerful. But the Templars were welcomed in Portugal, renamed the Order of Christ, and enlisted in the fight to retake the country from the Moors. The Convento de Cristo was built above the town of Tomar to give the order a prestigious home and an impregnable military base.
Carmen and I had a brilliant time exploring the place. So instead of just reading about it, here’s a video we took- just follow Carmen and you’ll see all the good bits: