Tomar is a beautiful town situated in the Central region of the Country, in the lovely river Nabão margins, and is one of the historic towns of Portugal, with so much to tell and see.
This is a region occupied by men since remote times, as one can observe in the lovely Nabão valley, where lay archaeological vestiges that date back from the Palaeolithic Period. The Romans also left an important legacy, as Tomar was once named and “Nabantia” and “Sellium”, and was an important Roman settlement. Tomar was re-conquered to the Moors in 1147 by the first Portuguese kind, Dom Afonso Henriques, and donated to the Templars Order in 1159. The Templar’s Grand Master Gualdim Pais, initiated in 1160 the construction of the Castle and Convent that would have been the headquarters of the Templars in Portugal, and afterwards of the Order of Christ, and is nowadays classified as World Heritage by UNESCO.
Afetr the Spanish Jewish expulsion in 1492, Tomar received a great number of refugees, masters with many skills and knowledge, providing a great development to the town, that were also quite important for the success of the Portuguese Era of the Discoveries. It is worth to visit the lovely Jewish Quarter and the Synagogue.
Tomar’s heritage is very rich and interesting with monuments such as the 15th century São João Baptista Church; the Nossa Senhora da Conceição (16th century) and Santa Maria dos Olivais Churches (with origins in the 13th century, and once the mother church of all the churches in the Portuguese colonies of Africa, Asia and America); the Santa Iria and São Francisco (17th century) Convents; the 16th century São Gregório Church; the Pegões Aqueduct built in the 16th century to supply the Convent of Christ.
There is much more to see and know in this lovely Templar town, like the curious Matches Museum or the Portuguese-Hebraic Museum, as well as the Mouchão Park with beautiful Gardens where the Nabão river runs through, among many other highlights.
The most renowned Festivity in Tomar is the well known “Festa dos Tabuleiros”. This is a very important festival that takes place every four years in June and July. The Festa dos Tabuleiros is a very ancient tradition of the city, with pagan origins. The population parades in pairs with the girl carrying a “tabuleiro” (“Tray”) in her head, decorated with bread, flowers, a crown and sometimes a white fowl, referring to the holy spirit. The Festival lasts for about three days and has many others attractions.