The Order of the Knights Templar is an organization that holds a lot of fascination even in todays world some 700 years after they were disbanded. There are many rumors about them, what they did, their secret treasures, the arc of the covenant, and well more. Being so long ago there is a lot of varying facts about them but some things are reasonably well known and verifiable.
Their existed as an official organization for the period between 1119 and 1314. and at their peak it is believed that the organization had as many as 20,000 people of which about 10% were actually knights.
During their reign they possessed a significant amount of wealth and power and they quickly had spread throughout many parts of Europe including Britain, Spain, France, Italy, Scotland, Portugal, and the Middle East.
The Organization was formed to protect pilgrims from Europe on their journey to Jerusualem. This formation happened in 1119 and it lends sense to the fact that the very first headquarters of the Knights Templar was in Jerusalem. It was the Al Aqsa Mosque on Jerusalem's Temple Mount. Shown Below.
Image by Barbara Kabel
Being a military order and embroiled in the battles of the Crusades the organization had ups and downs and its main headquarters was changed to different locations over the course of the two centuries which it existed. At one Point it moved to Acre in Jerusalem, Tortosa in Syria, and Atlit Fortresss in Israel. Below is a picture of Atlit Fortress. (Atlit fortress is also know as Chateau Pelerin)
They also moved their Headquarters to the city of Limissol on the Island of Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. They had at this point purchased and owned the complete island of Cyprus.
This is Kolossi Castle in the city of Limassol on the Island of Cyprus. This Fortress like Castle was occupied by a variety of different knight orders including the Knights Templar.
Templar Houses, Farms and Vinyards
The Templars are mostly famous because of their knights and their campaigns and battles during the crusades but their real claim to fame and wealth was their new way of money. They became very rich and powerful because they created new ways of dealing with money. And they owned and operated many Templar houses, farms, and vinyards dotted all throughout Europe.
Here are some of them:
- The Convent of the Order of Chirist in Tomar Portugal
- The Fortress of Arwad in Arwad Syria
- La Rochelle in Western France
- The Medieval fortified town of Domme in Southwestern France
- Sainte-Eulalie-de-Cernon in Southern France
- Castello della Magione , Tuscany , Italy
- Soure Castle, Portugal
- Ponferrada Castle in Spain
- Pensicola Castle in Spain
- Klis Fortress in Croatia
- Bisham Abbey in England
- Temple Church in Bristol England
- Denny Abbey in England
- Rothley Temple in England
- Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland
- Clontarf Castle in Ireland
Arwad Fortress in Syria (photo Michel Benoist)
Port de la Rochelle in France (Photo by:Jean-Pierre Bazard Jpbazard)
Sainte-Eulalie-de-Cernon in Southern France
Castello della Magione , Tuscany , Italy