The story of the creation, rise and fall of the Knights Templar is considered one of the most romantic. hundreds of years have passed since then, the bas-reliefs on the graves of the templar knights have become covered with the marks of centuries, but still many romantics and hoaxers, scientists and dreamers from different countries go for the gold of members of this Order, carefully studying the maps, searching the ruins, on which once then rose the richest castles of the Templars in Europe.
The organization, which is shrouded in a veil of secrets and rumors, today, almost eight centuries after its death, has become a kind of brand. The followers of the occult believe that the Templars found the Holy Grail in the underground of the Temple of Solomon, so they were the owners of secret knowledge. Treasure hunters are still wondering where their innumerable treasures have gone.
"Templars", the poor knights of Christ - as soon as the legendary Order of the Templars was not named. It was founded in 1119. However, the poor Templars could be called only at first. By the fourteenth century, this order had becomeone of the richest in medieval Europe. Kings and nobles gave them castles, estates and even entire cities. The Templars were the foremost accountants and economists of their day.
The Knights Templar was destroyed in the first quarter of the fourteenth century. In 1307, the French king Philip the Handsome ordered mass arrests. In March 1314, the last Grand Master, Jacques de Molay, was executed, burned at the stake by the court of the Inquisition. The headquarters of the Templars was located on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, in the Al-Aqsa Mosque. During the period when the city was owned by the crusaders, the knights of the Order turned the Muslim monastery into the Temple of Solomon. Here they kept military equipment, kept horses in the basement. This article describes the most iconic castles of the Templars.
In the East and in Europe, the templars left behind many fortresses and monastic farms, which are quite an impressive architectural heritage.
Castles of the Templars
Fortified complexes, temples, round chapels built in the Romanesque style, and many other ensembles are today considered historical monuments. The Templars also built many castles not only in the Middle East, but even in North Africa.
According to some researchers, for a couple of centuries on European lands, the knights of the order created more than a hundred impressive architectural structures. Basically, the castles of the Templars are located in Spain, France, Germany, as well as Italy and Portugal. somestructures have been preserved in Scandinavia and the B altic states. Even in Ukraine, there are ruins of the Sredne fortress, built by the knights of the order in the twelfth century.
This fortress is one of the hallmarks of Spain. It was built on a high hill, near the confluence of two rivers - Boesa and Sil.
Almost all tourist routes around the country include this famous Templar castle in Spain, located in the province of Leon in the town of the same name. It is considered one of the most beautiful and largest not only in Spain, but also in Europe. The medieval fortress of Castillo de los Tamplarios was donated to the Order by King Leon Fernando II in 1178.
Khamovniki almost rebuilt the dilapidated monastery at that time, and the gates were decorated with a very militant motto: "If God does not protect the city, the efforts of those who protect it will be in vain." At the end of the twelfth century, the Templars had to leave Ponferrada Castle for some time. But already in 1212 the fortress was again returned to the Order. The templars owned the monastery until 1312, when the Castilian master, as a result of intrigues, transferred the castle to the brother of the king.
Castles of the Order in Spain
Very curious place associated with the era of the Templars is the small town of Villalcasar de Sirga. In the Middle Ages, it was considered an important point on the route of pilgrims heading to Santiago de Compostela. The name of this town contains the word "alcazar", which translates as "fortress". Indeed, here wasa castle built by the Templars, which, together with the surrounding lands, was considered one of the most significant possessions of the templars in the Pyrenees.
In the resort town of Peniscola, Papa Luna's castle dating back to the Templar era is considered the main attraction. It stands on a rocky peninsula, which is connected to the mainland by a narrow isthmus. The Templar castle of Peniscola, reconstructed and restored, is now used for cultural events.
The dilapidated Miravet in the south of Catalonia also reminds of the history of the Templars. This castle rises above the Ebro - one of the two navigable non-drying rivers in Spain. It can only be reached by a serpentine road. It is not too steep, but very narrow. Therefore, it is impossible to meet large sightseeing buses bringing tourists near the castle.
Peace and quiet reign in Miravet, here, judging by the reviews, the spirit of the past is in the air. The construction of this castle began in the era of Moorish domination. In the IX-XI centuries. erected only the outer part of the fortress. Arabic masonry is easily identified by uneven stones. The central zone with five towers and buttresses was built in the 12th century by Christians who conquered the fortress from the Moors.
The walls of Miravet Castle are 25 meters high. There are practically no windows in them, as they were built with a defensive purpose. This castle has a "treasure tower" - a building in which the owners kept important documents and jewelry.The fortress became the last stronghold of several Spanish Templars who were besieged here after the order was disbanded. They were captured, and Miravet Castle went to another order - the Hospitallers or the St. Johnites.
The positions of the Templars in France were especially strong, because most of the knights were representatives of the local nobility. The members of the order were quite experienced in banking and other financial matters. Khamovniki often headed the treasuries in their countries and had the opportunity to put state gold into circulation. This helped the Templars to achieve special privileges. Their lands were not taxed, and the churches that were part of the Order did not pay the Church tax.
One of the most famous in France is Gisors Castle. The first fortifications in its place date back to 1087, but the main construction of the fortress complex was carried out during the twelfth century.
In the second half of the 13th century, it was transferred to the control of the Templars. Gisors Castle at that time was considered an outpost at the turn of interests of England and France. Therefore, he was an "apple of discord." In 1308, the Gisors Templars were arrested and imprisoned in a "prisoners' tower" built in the fortress itself. For six years, Zhizor turned into a prison where the knights of the Order were kept.
This fortress was built in 1222. The tall walls were surrounded by a moat so deep that the castle was considered impregnable. Inside, stables and barracks were built around the perimeter. In the middle of the yard was arrangedparade ground, prick and garden. The castle has a cathedral and seven towers, the main of which has a height of a 12-storey building, and the thickness of its walls is eight meters. It was the residence of the Grand Master. The main tower is not connected to any of the other buildings that make up the fortress complex. The drawbridge leading from the roof of one of the barracks descended directly to the door.
A complex system of blocks and levers allowed the templars to raise and lower it in a matter of seconds, close the mighty oak gates and install massive bars.
In different European countries, depending on the attitude of the authorities, the fate of the Templars was different. Most of all in this regard, the Portuguese templars were lucky. King Dinis, highly appreciating their military assistance during the Reconquista, created the Order of Christ and gathered all the remaining knights out of work into it. Moreover, he gave him the property of the Templars. The Portuguese templars, after disbanding their organization, got out of the situation without much loss. The legendary Holy Grail and other hidden treasures of the Templars are shrouded in mystery. They have been searched for for centuries. According to some legends, Tomar, the castle of the Templars in Portugal and the main residence of the Order of Christ, became their last refuge.
Many fortresses were built and restored by templars in the Holy Land. Some of them, due to constant military conflicts, tourists can only see from afar. So, the Templar castle Beaufort in Lebanon in the last century became a military base. He moved from oneterrorist group to another.