If you come to London, you cannot miss Temple Church, one of the oldest and most beautiful churches in London, famous for the Da Vinci Code and the mysteries surrounding the Holy Grail.
The circular church was built by the Knights Templar, the order of Crusader monks founded to protect pilgrims heading to the Holy Land in the 12th century, and was consecrated in 1185 by the patriarch of Jerusalem.
It was designed to commemorate the holiest place in the Crusader world, the Round Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, and is now divided into two parts: the Rotunda and the Presbytery.
The Round Church was the first Gothic building in England and is now one of only four Norman round churches still in use.
Unfortunately the church was bombed in 1941 and much of it had to be rebuilt.
Entry costs £5 and inside you’ll find life-sized stone effigies of the nine Knights Templar, plus the upper gallery for great photo opportunities.
But what you may not know is that the first ‘house’ of the Templars was not this one, but was actually located nearby, right next to Holborn station.
It was exactly here in Templar House that the Templars founded the first round church, before moving to the current Temple Church location.
Check out the amazing grotesque figures on the wall in the Rotunda’s nave.
The origin of these figures remains a mystery. One theory suggests that stonemasons created them as decorative elements for fun.
On the other hand, some believe they were installed in the 19th century, maybe to represent and teach biblical lessons to non-readers or as a means to ward off evil spirits. The truth is, nobody knows for sure.
Now, let’s explore another fascinating feature in Temple Church.
As you climb up to the upper gallery, you’ll come across a mysterious small room with two tiny windows overlooking the church’s interior.
This was supposedly a penitential cell used for solitary confinement. It’s said that a knight named Walter Bacheler was left to starve to death here for defying the Master of the Temple.
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