Right in the heart of Portugal are located three monasteriesĀ on a small distance, appointed World Heritage by the UNESCO. These fetchĀ a lot of touristsĀ to the towns of Tomar, Batalha and AlcobaĆ§a. Between them there isĀ alsoĀ FĆ”tima, the most important pilgrimage site in Portugal.
After having spent a wonderful week at the Yoga Retreat Vale de Moses, we headed for Tomar, where we should find the first of the three World Heritage monasteries. The Convento de Cristo, a former stronghold founded by the Knights Templars in 1162, is a combination of castle and monastery. After the dissolution of the Templar Order in 1312 it was transferred to the Order of Christ. Since 1983, the complex has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Situated on a hill west of the city, it dominates the cityscape.
Right next to the ascent to the Convent of Christ we found the vegan-friendly health food restaurant Nutrisabor. Here, the focus is on well-being through good food, which is therefore completely without gluten, lactose, trans-fatty acids and refined sugar. Moreover, the ingredients are also organic, seasonal and local (as far as possible). The friendly designed restaurant also includes a take-away service and a small shop.
Address: Travessa da MisericĆ³rdia 3, Tomar
In the middle of the many alleys of the old town of Tomar there is a central square:Ā PraĆ§a da RepĆŗblica. Here you will find the town hall and the church of SĆ£o JoĆ£o Baptista. Among the museums, the Museu Hebraico AbraĆ£o Zacuto is a special feature which is dedicated to the Jewish history of Tomar and Portugal and is housed in a medieval synagogue. There is also a quirky Matchsticks Museum with 80,000 matches and boxes from 115 countries.
Just a few kilometers west of Convento de Cristo,Ā theĀ about six kilometers longĀ Aqueduto dos PegĆµes was built to supply the monastery with water. The construction took from 1593 to 1614, consists of a total of 74 arches, measures 30 metersĀ at the highest pointĀ and was classified as Monumento Nacional in 1910. Thanks to the stairs, the aqueduct is accessible in several places.