The Enchanted Peninsula of Dornes

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Val de Mar on May 19, 2008

The village of Dornes has its origins steeped in religion with a church that was ordered to be built by Queen Saint Isabel of Portugal (1271AD to 1336AD). This church was positioned on a cliff where a Templar tower already existed. This pentagonal tower, of limy basis fitting shale walls and irregular façades is unique to Portugal and was probably constructed on top of another church previously built by Roman General Sertório (122BC to 72BC).

During the 12th and 13th Centuries, the crusading Order of the Knights Templar helped the Portuguese in battle against the invading Moorish infidels. In return they were rewarded with extensive lands and political power. In 1314, Pope Clement V was forced to suppress this rich and powerful Order, but in Portugal King Dinis formed the Knights of the Order of Christ, which inherited the property and privileges of the Templars. Ideals of Christian expansion were revived in the 15th Century, when their Grand Master, Prince Henry the Navigator, invested the order’s revenue in sea exploration. The emblem of the order, the squared cross, adorned the sails of the caravels that crossed the uncharted waters.

Located only 30km away from Dornes is the beautiful city of Tomar, with its UNESCO World Heritage Convent of Christ, originally designed as a monument symbolising the Reconquest, the Convent of the Order of the Knights Templar of Tomar (transferred in 1344 to the Knights of the Order of Christ) came to symbolise just the opposite during the Manueline Period – the opening up of Portugal to other civilisations.

Dornes was granted municipality rights in 1513 by king D. Manuel I "O Venturoso" of Portugal. These rights were withdrawn in 1836.

The beautiful and charming village of Dornes is today a peninsula on the shores of the Castelo de Bode Dam Lake and has less than 800 inhabitants.

Politically speaking, Dornes is a Parish “freguesia” within the Municipality “concelho” of Ferreira do Zêzere and belongs to Santarém and to Lisboa and Vale to Tejo Regions. Mainland Portugal is currently being divided into greater metropolitan areas (grandes áreas metropolitanas), urban communities (comunidades urbanas) and intermunicipal communities (comunidades intermunicipais). The divisions are organised by level of autonomy, from greatest to smallest. Each metropolitan area is further subdivided into municipalities. Dornes makes part of the new Urban Community of Médio Tejo.

Historically speaking Dornes makes part of the old Ribatejo Province and for tourist purposes belongs to the Knights of the Templar Tourism Region.

Val de Mar on May 19, 2008

Relax and feel the nature around you!

Dornes is a place where one could travel back in time, incorporating local legends of magic and mystery.

In our terraced garden, if the weather is right, enjoy the shade of the several trees and the green lawn: both make for a great option for reading a book or just taking a siesta. You can also enjoy one of Valdemar’s caipirinhas or Wladimir’s massages. If you want to keep active, take advantage of outdoor activities such as biking, canoeing, hiking and fishing.

There are plenty of good restaurants in the city of Tomar, serving national and international food. If you cross the river Zêzere to the other side, you’ll be in Beira Baixa, one of the Old Portuguese provinces with lots of delicious regional dishes awaiting you.

Casa WladiVal Bed & Breakfast

Val de Mar on May 24, 2008

Dutch painter Els Smulders-Waijers organises every year painting workshops around Dornes.

If you are interested in Els' work or should you like to join one of her next workshops in Central Portugal, please don't hesitate to contact her directly:

Els Smulders-Waijers Workshops in Portugal - in Dutch only

See also:

Els Smulders-Waijers Website in Dutch & English

For accommodation in the area, please access:

Casa WladiVal Bed & Breakfast in Dornes, Central Portugal

Mauro Tiberi on June 20, 2008

Sono stato in Portogallo quattro anni fà , ma purtroppo non ho visto posti simili!Buona inquadratura e scenografia ! Voto

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on May 17, 2008
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by Val de Mar
    • Camera: Nokia N95
    • Taken on 2008/05/16 16:41:17
    • Exposure: 0.004s (1/250)
    • Focal Length: 5.60mm
    • F/Stop: f/2.800
    • ISO Speed: ISO100
    • No flash