Tomar is an attractive town laid out on both sides of the Rio Nabão, with the new and old parts linked by a graceful, arched stone bridge. The river flows through a lovely park with weeping willows and an old wooden waterwheel. The town is best known for being the former headquarters of the Order of the Knights Templar and home to their Convento do Cristo, which is a UNESCO World-Heritage Site. The town also hosts the Festival of the Tabuleiros every four years. This ancient tradition is also the oldest festival in Portugal and consists of parades of girls carrying large tabuleiros, platters piled high with 30 loaves of bread fixed on rods, interspersed with flowers and topped with a crown. They wear these unusual headpieces in honor of the Holy Spirit, but the festival actually dates back to pagan times.
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