The Castle of Almourol

Translation : Andrew Zolnai


The castle of Almourol
Diaporama at the bottom of the page
Portugal, district de Santarem

Portugal, district of Santarem, agglomeration of Vila Nova de Barquinha, on the banks of the Rio Tejo, around 25 km South of Tomar.

The Castle of Almourol is built on a granitic outcrop at the top of a very small island 310m long and 75m wide in the middle of the Rio Tejo (Tage River).
Historians think that originally, a Lusitanian fortress there was conquered and improved by the Roman army, and then occupied by the Wisigoths, the Alans and finally by the Maurs during the 8th century until the conquest of the place by the Christian army of the first king of Portugal, Afonso Henriques, also called Afonso the Conqueror.

This fortress, like others located near the Rio Tejo, was entrusted to Gualdim Païs, Master of the Templar Order in Portugal, who took to rebuilding it in order to protect the southern border of the new kingdom. He finished the works in 1171, that is to say 2 years after building the fortress of Tomar.
At that time, Almourol was the central part of the system defending Portugal along the Rio Tejo which acted as natural barrier between the Christian part and that still occupied by the Muslims.

When the Templar Order was dissolved in 1312, this castle as well as other templar sites in Portugal were not handed over to the Knights of St John, but remained in the hands of the Portuguese Crown until the creation in 1319 of the Order of the Christ, which inherited the entire Templar possessions.

Strongly damaged during an earthquake in 1755, the castle was rebuild in the 19th century following the romantic inspiration of the time. It was registered as National Monument in 1919.

    


More references... Bibliography
  1. "Portugal Templário, Relação e Sucessão dos seus Mestres"
    José Manuel Capêlo ; Editions Arion Publicaoes, 2003
  2. "Portugal Templário, A Presença Templária en Portugal"
    José Manuel Capêlo ; Editions Zéfiro, 2008
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Translation : Andrew Zolnai
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