The 10 most impressive Templar monuments in Spain

The Templars belonged to the “Order of the Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Solomon”. Initially they were in charge of protecting pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem, that is, bankers, builders and administrators; and throughout 2 centuries they accumulated a lot of power and wealth. Then they began to unite with the Catholic Church, defending it and the power of the pope; also participating in the Crusades. 

The story goes that they were later falsely accused before the Inquisition of heresy, thanks to the conspiracy of Pope Clement V and the King of France Philip the Fair, because both desired the great riches of these knights, who were burned at the stake; an act of high treason, disappearing by 1312.

However, they have left a legacy not only in Spain, but throughout Europe. Monumental buildings that still remain despite the passing of the centuries, which were erected by castles, temples, chapels, among others. Below, we will mention 10 of their most impressive monuments in Spain.

Templar monuments in the Communities of Navarre and Aragon: 

The church of Santa María de Eunate in the Comunidad Foral de Navarra: 

This church is located in the north of Spain, specifically in Muruzábal, on the road to Santiago. It is considered to be very enigmatic, since it has an octagonal shape and is surrounded by a gallery of 33 Romanesque-style arches, like the rest of the building. 

It is said that the Templars were involved in its construction in 1170. It also has similarities with the church of Vera Cruz in Segovia. In the Basque language, this invocation of the Marian name means “one hundred doors”. Likewise, this hermitage also functioned as a cemetery for those pilgrims who could not get to where the Apostle was.

The Castle of Monzón in the Community of Aragón:

Castle of Arab origin is located specifically in the province of Huesca, in the town of Monzón. But it was in 1143 when the Order of the Temple arrived and established themselves to defend the area, expanding the place until it reached the grandeur that can be seen today. In addition, King James I of Aragon, “The Conqueror”, was educated here. 

But by 1307 Pope Clement V began the persecution of the Templars and then this castle served as a refuge for these knights who refused to capitulate; therefore, this building is one of the last works left by this Order, in this community and in the province of Huesca.

Templar monuments in the Communities of Catalonia:

In the province of Tarragona we find the Castle of Tortosa:

Another of the beautiful fortresses that belonged to the Order of the Knights of the Temple, which made extensions to the ancient citadel of Arab origin. But after they were expelled from this building because of the accusations of heresy already mentioned, in the following centuries they continued to carry out other reforms.

All these made it more and more impregnable, until in 1980 it was transformed into a hotel, a Parador Nacional del Turismo for Tortosa; the Castillo de la Zuda, with panoramic views facing the Ebro River.

Also in the province of Tarragona is the Miravet Castle:

History tells us that civil, military and religious functions were planned in this castle for many centuries; located in the southern part of the Ebro River. In 1153 Berenguer IV ceded this fortress to the Order of the Temple of Arab origin, which later became this castle, following the model of those of the Holy Land.

Its walls have a height of about 25 m and come from the rocks that protect the course of the river. In his time also served for the protection and defense of these knights, who also guarded it, until they surrendered in December 1308.

Templar monuments in the Community of Castilla y León:

El Castillo de Ponferrada is located in the province of León:

In 1178 Fernando II of León made the decision to donate to the Order of the Temple this building, which was of Celtic origin, in the region of El Bierzo and on the banks of the river Sil. It was later reformed by the Templars in 1282, with the construction of the current castle. 

The purpose was to protect the pilgrims who traveled the Camino de Santiago, in addition to repopulating the territory. It stands out for its architecture of 12 towers, which reproduce the conformation of the constellations; in addition to the battlements or vertical projections that crown its walls, the towers and the moat, typical of the Middle Ages.

In the Province of Soria we have the Monastery of San Polo: 

Monastery located on the left side and on the banks of the Duero River. It was built between the XII and XIII centuries, with Gothic and Romanesque style; in addition, its walls are covered with ivy; today it is a private property. This Templar settlement and the Hospitallers of San Juan de Duero functioned as military orders to defend the main entrance to the city.

It was inhabited until 1312, until the Order of the Temple was evicted and the property passed to the king, who then sold it to the nobility. The place was in dispute until the final judgment was given to Duke Núñez Fernán and his descendants.

In Segovia we find the Vera Cruz Church:

On the road to Zamarramala, on the outskirts of the city of Segovia, is located this church. From a distance it is apparently circular in shape, but in reality, its form is dodecagonal or 12-sided, and in the central part it has columns and a roof that resemble a 2-story temple. Its architecture is of Romanesque style, and it is assumed that the Templars were responsible for its construction. 

At that time it was also known as the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. At present it is guarded by the Order of Malta, thus recovering Good Friday and its essence, with the procession of these knights.

Templar monuments in Extremadura, Castilla La Mancha and Valencia:

In the province of Badajoz, in the Community of Extremadura, is located the Castle of Jerez de los Caballeros:

The chronicles tell that this fortress passed into the hands of the Order of the Temple thanks to King Alfonso IX, who in the 13th century defeated the Muslims to reconquer this area. The Templars took the town with the help of the Order of Santiago and then it was reformed, adding another wall.

This fortification and walls initially served as a refuge from the persecution of the Templars who refused to capitulate, however, in the end they were beheaded and thrown from the famous keep; called from that moment onwards the Bloody Tower.

The castle of San Servando in Toledo is located in the region of Castilla la Mancha:

Originally in this facility Alfonso VI had built a monastery, in 1088, to honor the saints Germano and Servando. Subsequently, it was rebuilt in the eleventh century, to protect both the entry of Muslims and the Christian kingdom, through the bridge of Alcántara; since, crossing it, you can easily reach the castle. 

Therefore, a whole military fortress was erected next to the Tagus River for this defense. The main plant has a rectangular shape, with cylindrical hollow towers in 3 of its corners; in addition, they have horseshoe-shaped arches. The machicolations of the towers have brick windows and very lobed forms.

Its main gate, which opens towards the city of Toledo, is formed by a tower that is still part of the enclosure, but exempt from the wall and connected to it through a small arch, which can be destroyed by the enemy, but at the same time keeps it isolated from the rest of the castle. It is currently used as a youth hostel.

In the Valencian Community, in the province of Castellón, is located the Castle of Peñíscola: 

This civil and religious type work, an imposing castle in Romanesque style, was built between 1294 and 1307 by the Templars, after they were granted control of this enclosure facing the Mediterranean through the reign of James II of Aragon. 

But, as life would have it, in later years this same king contributed to the dissolution of the Order of the Temple. It is said that, in this fortress, in the fifteenth century, Pope Benedict XIII made it the seat of the Catholic Church, thus defying Rome to remain faithful to its principles and not renounce them.

Posted in Europe, Spain.