In 2012, the Department of Aube devoted its cultural year to the Templars, whose central event was the exhibition “Templars, an history, our treasureé” organized by the Departmental Council. It was during the international colloquium of this event that the Aubois and the Portuguese discussed for the first time the possibility of creating a European Cultural Route of the Templars.
While the department of Aube represents “the Alpha” of the route, the cradle of the Templars, the city of Tomar constitutes “the Omega”, the longest surviving site of the Order.
The history of the Temple Order is closely linked to the department. Hugues de Payns, a native of a village near Troyes, is the founder and first master of the Temple, an order recognized during the Council of Troyes in 1129. The rule of the Order was drawn up and adopted under the aegis of Bernard de Clairvaux. Champagne provided major figures of the Order of the Temple and the Crusades.
The city of Tomar, located in the heart of Portugal, was founded in 1160 as the headquarters of the Templars. It was the last provincial Templar seat in Europe. Listed by UNESCO as World Heritage, it preserves a Templar heritage in perfect condition, including the castle, the Convent of Christ and the tombs of the first Templars.
In 2014, to commemorate the 700 years of death at the stake of Jacques de Molay, last grand master of the Order of the Temple, the Dawn and Tomar decided to unite around the theme of the Templars and to create a European Cultural Route (ICE) entitled: “European Templar Route”.
To make this project a reality, the two territories created the Templars Route European Federation association in 2016.