The final resting place of the Templar Grand Masters of Portugal is in the sleepy town of Tomar – which was once a battleground between the forces of the Crusades and the Islamic caliphate. From here, armies of Knights Templar rode out to fight the Moors in a terrible conflict for control of the Iberian Peninsula.
The church of Santa Maria Olival is located in a dip. Separate from the church is a tower that was once a look out for enemies marching on the horizon. There are believed to be secret tunnels located under the church leading towards the Templar castle but no evidence to support this claim.
In a box in the church is a skull believed to be that of a saint. But details are very sketchy. Up above, is a pentagram in a window, symbolising the five wounds of Christ or…some say…showing that the Templars were involved in magical rituals.
Every Templar Grand Master from Gualdim Pais onwards was interred in this modest church until the Templars were suppressed by order of the pope. It’s difficult to find the graves of all the masters and a simple plaque indicates the remains of Pais – a legendary figure in his own lifetime who fought the Moors alongside the first king of Portugal.
These are photographs I took there in August this year.
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