From our quiet sojourn in the Portuguese country-side, we began to gather ourselves. I had booked two nights in Fatima in honor of the Centennial sighting. More on that to come.
As we consulted the map, we saw that as we were in the northwest mountains of Portugal heading southwest towards Fatima, we would pass through Tomar. Kevin petitioned for a stop. This, after all, is home of the Knights Templar.
A castle wall surrounds the Convent of Christ, the Knights Templar home built in the early 12th century.
Every inch of the Convent of Christ has mystical symbolism. Esoteric symbols intermix with Christianity. Rooms were circular, well protected, and basically every guy's wet dream.
Kevin kept looking in the forests outside of the castle walls. Apparently that's where really super secret weird rites went down.
The Templar Knights were ultimately banned but their burial site remains in view of the Convent of Christ. Kevin and I drove down away from the church fortress on the hill through the beautiful town of Tomar to Igreja do Maria do Olivais. Kevin got super excited finding the circular rose window above the entry. Standing with your back to the church, you have a clear view of the Convent of Christ high on the hill ahead.
This church was perhaps the most fascinating in all of Portugal. Entering, above the altar a window with a pentagram surrounded by interlocking circles. So much esoteric symbolism! No cross! As I walked down the steps I saw flyers advertising normal church events for the community. This church, more than any other we visited, seemed most in use and loved by its community. The Virgin Mary was centered below as a point of worship with Jesus off to her left. To the right of the church and all along the side were small tombs containing the remains of the 12th century Knights Templar. This church felt like the quiet, breathing home of the strange, esoteric protectors of medieval treasure.