In talking about the city of Tomar, the attendant at the reception desk of the hotel where we stayed in Lisbon, strongly recommended that we visit the Church of “Santa Maria do Olival”. And, although we found it closed, we could not enjoy its interior and we were able to appreciate the structure, its surroundings and its particularities.
The Church of “Santa Maria do Olival” is located on the other side of the Nabão River in the town of Tomar in Portugal. Originally it was part of a Benedictine convent, but it was rebuilt in 1160 under the auspices of Don Gualdim Pais, Grand Master of the Order of the Temple in Portugal.
The Church served as a pantheon for the Templars and later for the Knights of the Order of Christ. The body of Don Gualdim Pais rests there.
The structure of the temple follows the trend of medium-sized Portuguese churches of the Gothic period. It is a simple and modest Church. Its roof is made of wood and the interior is made up of three naves, illuminated by the large rosette located on its facade. The side chapels are the work of the architect “João de Castilho”, who is also responsible for the construction of the “Jerónimos” Monastery in Lisbon.
We found it very curious to observe the location of its tower. It turns out that unlike many other temples, the tower with its bell tower is separated from the Church, facing the street and a few steps from the front and main entrance. It is alleged that at the time, this tower housed a tunnel that connected this Church with the Templar Castle that is located on the top of the mountain on the other side of the Nabão River.
It was declared a National Monument in 1910.