Knights Templar’s Important Castles And Churches
The Knights Templar beside being a huge army and respectable force in medieval times had many castles throughout Europe and the Holy Land.
1. Holy Land-Middle East Knights Templar Holdings Outremer (Holy Land) the Levant Jerusalem- Of course the Templar Quarters under Solomon’s Temple Jerusalem, the knights first temporary headquarters was on the Temple Mount, the original site of King Solomon’s Temple. This is where they took of residence in the former Temple Stables and legend says they began their excavations under the Temple almost immediately.
Acre- AKKO (عكا ) in Arabic- was the final stronghold of the Templars in the Levant/Outremer. Their famous fortress was where they made their last stand against the Saracens before they finally retreated to their fortress on Cyprus to regroup. The Last Remains of the Templar Towers and Castle at Acre, Israel Atlit (also known as Pilgrims Castle)
- Chateau Pelerin- lost in 1291 to the Mamluks just after the fall of ACRE. This was the Knights Templar’s strongest fortress and it could host 4,000 knights in siege conditions. It has a secure water source and deep excavations and a vast tunnel system. The castle remains still stand today near the Port City of Haifa, Israel.
Atlit Castle- also called Pilgrims Castle- Haifa Israel Chastel Blanc- was a fortified keep that had a chapel, garrison and office quarters for the knights in the hills of Chastel Blanc. From the Keep, the knights could see the Templar coastal fortresses of Tartus, the Mediterranean Sea, mounts of Lebanon, the Krak des chevalier fortress inland and Akkar to the south. The keep had a large warning bell tower that could sound the alarm to other Templar warning posts of any invasion or approaching hostiles due to its commanding views in all directions.
Ruad Island - This sole island fortress in Syria gave the Knights a bridgehead and staging area to raid into Syria and especially Tortosa now called Tartus on the shore. This was the last piece of land held by the Templars in the Holy Land. The knights’ Arwad Castle on Ruad Island off of Tartus Syria Coast maintained a garrison of 120, knights, 400 bowmen and several hundred infantry men on the island up until 1302. The Muslims laid siege to the island a negotiated a surrender where safe passage was guaranteed for the surrender, but the Muslim’s dishonorably broke that negotiated cease fire by executing all the infantry and bowmen and sending the remaining Knights Templar to Cairo to be imprisoned.
2. Europe and Turkey Old Rhodes Harbor Castle. The Templars took part in the raid and conquest of Constantinople. Many believe to remove key artifacts and safe guard them from the eventual Muslim onslaught - more likely for their own use and knowledge. The Templars controlled two major castles in the Southern tip of Turkey on the approach to Antioch and Aleppo. These were Bagras Castle and Trapessac Castles. Known as the Grand Master Knights Templar Courtyard Rhodes Gatehouse to the Knights Castle Gates to Syria. After the loss of land by the Knights Templar in the Levant (Holy Land), also known as Outremer, the Knights first moved their major forces to Cyprus, but later along with other orders moved a huge contingent of knights to Rhodes in an attempt to keep their staging forces near the Holy Land. Eventually the Knight of St. John (Hospitallers) moved their HQ to Malta and kept a major presence on Rhodes as well.
Cyprus, Kolossi Castle. Kolossi Castle, another heavily fortified Keep with castle curtain walls around it is just 9 miles from the Limasol Cyprus. This served as the operational headquarters for the Knights Templar in the region of the Holy Land after they were pushed out of the by the Muslims. Jacques de Molay kept his residence here much of the time as he envisioned building support to reinvade the holy land and retake the Holy City and Christian heritage.
Vrana Croatia- along the Dalmatian coast, the Knights Templar and the Benedictine Monks had established a fortified castle high above the village and the Benedictine Monks Chapel in the town to project power into the region. The Knights Hospitallers were given this property after the betrayal of the Knights Templar by the Catholic Church in 1312.
Castello della Magione, also Magione di San Giovanni al Ponte or Spedale di San Giovanni in Gerusalemme alla Magione is a medieval castle in Poggibonsi province of Siena, central Italy. It is an, example of amedieval “Mansio”(residence) that belonged to the Knights Templar.The castle includes the ancient church and the“spedale” (hotel) for the pilgrims in transit to Rome on the Via Francigena. The complex is near the ancient crossing of the Via Francigena over the Staggia River, near the Bonizio bridge, now destroyed.
Sion, in the Valais Canton, There are twin peaks overlooking the town, meaning new Jerusalem or holy place in the Alps. The Twin Mountains house the cathedral of Sion and the Castle Tourbillion. These date back to the beginning times of Swiss Confederation formation around 1291 the time when the Templars were known to be looking to establish a European mainland stronghold outside of the Holy Land as they were being pushed out of the Levant by the Muslims and the Christians had lost their stomach to fight on any longer. Here in Sion, the Valais Canton of Switzerland there are two massive castles on two twin peaks. Tourbillion and Valere Castles each tower high above the old city. Rumors have always floated that this is where the Templars originally set up shop after their flight from France.
Chwarzczany , The Templars were given the area now known as Chwarzczany and built a fortified chapel there near the border of Poland and Eastern Germany. The knights maintained a small garrison to control the agricultural region and the ten villages associated with this commandery.
Bornholm Castle and churches is Located 40 kilometers southeast of the southern tip of Sweden but territorially part of Denmark. The island of Bornholm is one of the oldest visible rocks in the world. Formed through volcanic activity more than 1.7 billion years ago. The small granite island has an area of approximately 600 square kilometers (230 square miles). Its rolling hills are covered with a patchwork of farms, pastures and beautiful forests, the coasts are graced by sandy beaches and rocky cliffs and its traditional villages are home to some of the friendliest people in Europe.
Paris Temple- The main strong hold of Templar power and diplomacy in Europe up until the betrayal and capture of their knights by King Phillip IV on October 13, 1307. Remnants of the temple still lie along the Seine River today. You can see the Templar plaque documenting the burning of the last public grand master Jacques de Molay on the bridge over the Seine that is placed on the Ills de La Cite in view of Notre Dame Cathedral.
Chateau de Chinon Castle- is a castle located on the bank of the Vienne River in Chinon, France. It was founded by Theobald I, Count of Blois. It was here that King Phillip IV imprisoned most of the Templar Knights, including Jacques de Molay until they were tried and sentenced and many executed. This is also where the pope’s emissaries conducted their depositions of the Templars which is recorded in the Chinon Parchment.
La Rochelle-The Knights Templar had a strong presence in La Rochelle since before the time of Eleanor of Aquitaine, who exempted them from duties and gave them mills in her 1139 Charter. La Rochelle was for the Templars their largest base on the Atlantic Ocean, and where they stationed their main fleet. From La Rochelle, they were able to act as intermediaries in trade between England and the Mediterranean
Segovia is a city in Spain, the capital of Segovia Province in the autonomous community of Castile and León. The Segovia Cathedral and Templar Castle are major landmarks as well as the Castle of Alacazar perched high above the village. Ponferrada is also noted for its Castillo de los Templarios in 1178. Ferdinand II of León donated the city to the Templar order for protecting the pilgrims on the Way of St. James who passed through El Bierzo in their road to Santiago de Compostela. The castle hosted the Knights Templar’s Grand Master of Castille. However, the Templars were only able to enjoy the use of their fortress for about twenty years before the order was disbanded and its properties confiscated in 1311.
Peniscola, often called the “Gibraltar of Valencia,” is a fortified seaport, with a lighthouse, built on a rocky headland about 220 feet (67 m) high, and joined to the mainland by only a narrow strip of land (Peníscola is a local evolution of Latin peninsula). The present castle was built by the Knights Templar between 1294 and 1307. In the fourteenth century it was garrisoned by the Knights of Montesa, and in 1420 it reverted to the Crown of Aragon.
The town of Tomar was born inside the walls of the Convento de Cristo, constructed under the orders of Gualdim de Pais, the fourth grand master of the Knights Templar in the late 12th century. Tomar is one of Portugal’s historical jewels and more significantly was the last Templar town to be commissioned for construction. Tomar was especially important in the 15th century when it was a centre of Portuguese overseas expansion under Henry the Navigator, the Grand Master of the Order of Christ, successor organization to the Templars in Portugal.
The Castle of Almourol is a medieval castle located on a small islet in the middle of the Tagus River in the civil parish of Praia do Ribatejo, 4 kilometres from the municipal seat of Vila Nova da Barquinha in the Portuguese Centre Region. The castle was part of the defensive line controlled by the Knights Templar, and a stronghold used during the Portuguese Reconquista.
Skara- Home of Arn Magnusson a legendary Knights Templar who returned from the crusades to assist in the formation of the country of Sweden. Today’s cathedral is a mighty Gothic edifice built with sandstone from the mountains of Västergötland. One remnant of the eleventh century is the unique crypt that served as the last resting place for the first bishops. The Skara cathedral stood on the city’s highest point. Its spires towering over the city marked the city center and served as landmark for visitors. It was built in the year of our Lord 1150.
Bergenhus in Norway, The Knights Templar may have had many connections with their northern allies. It is apparent that many Templars were involved in this region. Some of their works could include Bergenhus in Norway.
London Temple Church-The Temple Church is a late-12th-century church in London located between Fleet Street and the River Thames, built for and by the Knights Templar as their English headquarters. In modern times, two Inns of Court (Inner Temple and Middle Temple) both use the church. It is famous for its effigy tombs and for being a round church. It was heavily damaged during the Second World War but has been largely restored. The area around the Temple Church is known as the Temple and nearby is Temple Bar and Temple tube station.
Garway Temple in Herefordshire-The earliest record of a monastery on the site is in the seventh century, but it is with the arrival of the Knights Templar in 1180 that the history of the church at Garway becomes clearer. The Knights Templar built a stone hut in honor of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem Garway Church.
Glastonbury Abbey-Somerset County-The Kolbrin Bible is truly special it is a copy of the Kolbrin from the version from India, where Christ is believed to have traveled and preached during his 18 years not mentioned in the bible. It was originally called the Bronze Book which survived the burning of the Glastonbury Abbey in 1184 AD. That is critical, because the Glastonbury Abbey is located squarely on the ground that was gifted to Joseph of Arimathea and the Virgin Mary by Christian King Avaragus after the crucifixion of Christ. The family of Avaragus launched all our western versions of Christianity, from Catholicism to Protestant churches. The Templars gave special credence to the importance of this Abbey.
Temple at Midlothian was a small area in the region of Edinburgh. The Templars had land holdings here established by Hugh de Payens himself around 1127 AD. In 1127, Hugues de Payens, the first Grand Master met with David I in Scotland, and was granted the lands of Balantrodach.
In 1129, the Council of Troyes formally recognized the Order. Balantrodach became their principal Templar seat and Preceptory in Scotland until the suppression of the order between 1307 and 1312.