Convent of Christ

The Convent of Christ, located in the city of Tomar, has its origins in the Templar occupation in the region, which used the place as its headquarters. Later on, in the fourteenth century, it was incorporated into the Order of Christ, following the Templars' extinction. The wealth of the Order of Christ, which had absolute control of the Nabão River, enabled the construction of a sophisticated hydraulic system in early modern Portugal, which sets the Convent of Christ apart on the international scene, such is the case of the Aqueduct of Pegões.

Inside the conventual enclosure, sustainability was fundamental. The presence of different models of production and in a diversified landscape enabled the independence of the Order of Christ and enabled the Convent’s enclosure. In this unit, several water structures were built, such as water tanks, levadas and the Charolinha, a great exemple of space of multifunctionality related to water as it was at the same time spring and devotional place. Such structures complemented the hydraulic system of the Convento de Cristo, which contained the Aqueduct of Pegões, wells, cisterns, reuse of gray waters and even pumps, exceptional during this period and used to take out water from the cisterns circa 1537.

The Order of Christ, as the holder of the right to exploit the waters of the Nabão River, dictated Tomar development rules. These relations of power extant in the management of the territory fostered a unique occupation in the Portuguese national panorama. Thus, the urban evolution of Tomar occurred from the relations with the water and the hydraulic structures developed along the Nabão River by the Order of Christ. In this sense, the local landscape was marked by water wheels. As a testament to the heyday of Tomar, the Roda do Mouchão, rebuilt in the last century, is exceptional in the Portuguese national panorama with its considerable proportions, authenticating the historical accounts of the Arab influence in the construction of hydraulic structures and the importance of the water wheel in the consolidation of territories.


  • Convent limits and the vegetation cover

  • Convent limits and hydraulic structures

Progression in time of the hydraulic structures in Tomar

Primary Sources

A Missao de Portugal e o Monumento de Tomar.pdf

A missão de Portugal e o monumento de Thomar

Book by Dr. Vieira Guimarães, Lisbon, 1905

Noticia descritiva e historica da cidade de Tomar.pdf

Notícia descriptiva e historica da cidade de Thomar

Descriptive book about Tomar by J. M. Sousa, Tomar, 1903

Monumentos de Portugal_historicos, artisticos e archeologicos2.pdf

Monumentos de Portugal históricos, artisticos e archeologicos

Book about monuments by Ignacio de Vilhena Barbosa, Lisbon, 1886

Definicões e Estatutos dos Cavalleiros e Freires da Ordem de N.S Jesu Christo, com a historia da orgiem e Principio della

Pedro Craesbeeck. Lisboa, 1628.

Inéditos da Crónica da Ordem de Cristo

Manuel Da Silva Castelo Branco. Santarem, 1980.


  • The Development of industrial activity in Tomar: a study on the unpublisehd document of Bernardo Daniel de Moraes requirement

Clara Marques

  • Tomar, Convento de Cristo e a água: Interpretação morfológica e suas inter-relações com as estruturas hidráulicas (séc. XVI-XIX)

Clara Xavier Marques. 2021.

Thesis to obtain the Master Of Science Degree in Spatial Planning and Urbanism. IGOT, Lisboa, Portugal.

Marques_Clara Xavier_2021 (1).pdf

Map and location

Convento cristo_logo_musica.m4v