It’s a lovely city on the margins of the Nabão river. Its history is ancestral, as is its patrimony. You may visit the Roda do Nabão – a symbol of Arab culture and agricultural practices; Roman ruins; Visigothic remains; medieval, gothic and renaissance buildings, of which the Convent of Christ is the most distinctive icon.
The Convent of Christ, classified by the UNESCO as Patrimony of Humanity, was the Order of the Knights Templar’s (later on named « Christ’s Order ») headquarters, and it is surrounded by an impressive castle with a very extensive garden at its feet, the “Mata dos Sete Montes ».
Beyond the numerous details that charm whomever comes to visit Tomar, the city holds the “Festa dos Tabuleiros » every four years – a celebration that has been held for centuries and which is meant to praise harvests through bread and wine. This celebration can be associated to the worship of Ceres, the roman goddess of agriculture, and later on, in the Christian, era to the adoration the Holy Spirit.
During preparations, the whole city and its surroundings get engaged in decorating the trays carried on women’s heads through the procession, but also the old city’s streets and windowsills.
The procession involved hundreds of couples, adults and children, and it is the women that carry a vertical tray that is as tall as they are, adorned with hand-made paper flowers which are different from county to county. They walk through the entire city, side by side with ox-carts, water-baskets’ carriers and horsemen. Thousands and thousands of people come to wander through the elaborately decorated streets and admire this splendorous parade, having the castle as a the backdrop.
The river Nabão and its many dams involve the city in a lovely sound of running water, bringing freshness to the city and inviting visitors to enjoy strolls in the garden of Mouchão where they can also observe dozens of ducks and fishes that further animate the scenery.