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Knights Templar: Castle of Almourol

The Castle of Amourol; situated on an island in the middle of River Tagus.  Together with the castles of Tomar – Zezere – and Cardiga they formed the so-called Tagus Line.  The defensive line of fortifications along the river, controlled by the Knights Templar.

Little remains of the original structure, which consisted of three levels, which has under gone many alterations over the centuries.

The castle adopted the innovative design of the time; the watchtowers and keep, appearing in the 12th century after the Castle of Tomar, principle defensive redoubt of the Templars of Portugal.  The high walls were protected by nine circular watchtowers.  They have irregular shapes, due to uneven terrain.  Inside stone gates connect to different castle parts.

It is believed the castle was built on the site of a primitive castro lusitamo, and conquered by Romans during the 1st century BC.  Exact construction dates unknown, yet Castle Almourol existed prior to the beginning of the Kingdom of Portugal.  Rebuilt by Alans, Visigoths and Moors.  The castle was seized from the Moors in 1129, by Portuguese forces.  Alfonso Henriques the 1st King of Portugal gifted it to Hualdim Pais, Master of the Templars, and reconstruction commenced in 1171.

The castle lost its role as the “Order of the Knights Templar” was dissolved, and it was abandoned and fell into ruins.

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