TOn both sides of the Nabão River, Tomar is 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 was an important industrial center from medieval times, and its long-abandoned riverside buildings are being transformed into a series of museums called the Complexo Cultural da Levada.
The town hosts the Festa dos Tabuleiros every four years in July. 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.