Myths and Secrets

The Knights of the Order of the Temple are shrouded in many legends, myths, and secrets. Uncertainty about many historical facts leads us to fantasize and find explanations for some phenomena that are beyond “normal”. But not everything is fantasy and some of the stories are real and proven.

The Creation of the Banking System

Did you know that the Templars were the first “bankers” in the world?

One of the first purposes of creating the Order of the Temple was to protect pilgrims from Jerusalem. These traveled from all over Europe and faced various dangers and assaults on the way, so the Order of the Temple created letters of credit, which allowed pilgrims to deposit values at the origin of the trip and collect them safely in Jerusalem.

Military Architecture Innovations

From their international travels, knights like Sir Gualdim Pais brought innovations, unknown in Europe to military architecture.

Constructions such as the Escarpment or the Keep came to reinforce the defense elements of the castles. The Escarpment created steep slopes at the walls bases, which made enemy attacks difficult with ladders and mechanisms leaning against them. The Keep, as the highest and central point of the fortifications, also helped in the communication system between watchtowers and in the defense of the castle.

Tunnels in Tomar

There are reports that, in times, there would have been tunnels in Tomar, namely between the Santa Maria dos Olivais Church and the Convent of Christ, but no evidence of this has ever been found. It is known, however, that in many places in the world the Templars used a network of tunnels that allowed communication between fortifications and important places of worship or other fortifications, which would also have been used for escaping in some battles.

Holy Grail in the Médio Tejo

It is also said that the Holy Grail can be found in the Médio Tejo! Even today it is not known exactly what the Holy Grail was. Whether it was a relic, the holy Shroud or even the Chalice of the Last Supper, it is believed that it was in the custody of the Knights Templar and that it would have been transported to our region after the Siege of Acre, a great battle in the Middle East, the last Templar bastion in the region. For its protection, it would have been brought to Portugal, suspecting that it could have been kept in the Almourol Castle. Concrete evidence has never been found, so we leave this possibility to the imagination of our visitors.

Friday the 13th is bad luck

The Council of Trent came to decree the extinction of all Religious Orders. At that time, all over the world, members of the Orders were hunted down and killed. This was the case of Jacques de Molay, Grand Master executed by the King of France Filipe the Beautiful, allegedly for heresies and blasphemies against the Church, but which actually had financial motivations, such as the large loans made to the King, which will have remained immediately settled.

It was on October 13, 1307 (a Friday), that everything happened and until today the superstition of bad luck on Friday the 13th has persisted!

The Templars Endured in Portugal Beyond the Council of Trent

In Portugal, the knowledge, habits, richness, and lands of the Order of the Temple were inherited by instruction of King Dinis, by the Order of Christ, and which served the entire Discoveries.