The origin of Tomar Castle is closely tied to the beginning of the Portuguese kingdom and to the presence of Knights Templar in the Iberian Peninsula - at the time mostly occupied by Islamic kingdoms. This was the time of the Crusades and the peninsula was recognized as a Crusade land just like Palestine. In this context, the Knights Templar take an active role in the formation of new Christian kingdoms in the Iberian Peninsula. The Knights Templar came to Portugal in 1128. In 1159, King Afonso Henriques awarded them a vast territory situated halfway between Coimbra and Santarém, known as Termo de Ceras, as a reward for their role in the conquests of Santarém and Lisbon (1147). The Knights Templar founded the Tomar Castle and Village in this region. As a result of the persecution against the Knights Templar by Philip IV of France, the Order was extinct in 1312 by Pope Clement V.
In the middle of the River Tagus, the enigmatic Almourol Castle is one of the most emblematic monuments of the Christian reconquest. Situated on an island in the middle of the River Tagus, Almourol is one of the most distinctive castles in Portugal, because of its historical significance and surrounding landscape. Its history reminds us of the Reconquest of Portuguese territory during the Middle Ages. When the Christians arrived here in 1129, the castle already existed under the name of Almorolan, having been incorporated immediately afterwards into the land that was placed under the protection of the Knights Templar, whose Master at that time was Gualdim Pais.
The Tomar Synagogue is the only proto-Renaissance Hebrew temple in our country. The quadrangular plan and the vaulted ceiling, resting on columns and inlaid consoles, reveal eastern influences. It was built in the 15th century and IMG 6883 compress closed in 1496, when the Portuguese Jews were expelled from the country. It was later turned into a prison and in the 17th there is a reference to it as the S. Bartolomeu Chapel. In the 19th century it was used as a barn, a granary, a goods warehouse and a storage room. Only in 1921 was it possible to restore its lost dignity when it was classified as a National Monument. Samuel Schwarz, a Polish Jewish researcher into Hebrew Culture, saved it from the chaotic state it was in by acquiring it in 1923 and donating it to the Portuguese state in 1939 to house the Abraão Zacuto Luso-Hebrew Museum.