The first commandery installed by the Knights Templars order on the Ebro lowlands was that of Tortosa. Once they had conquered the city, in 1148, Raymond Berenguer IV divided his broad dominions among the lords who helped him to get them: the Montcada, the Genoese and the Templar militaries.
During a long period between the years 1185 and 1294, the Knights Templars order virtually dominated the whole city of Tortosa, after enlarging their possessions with donations by individuals but, mainly, thanks to the cession made by king Alphonso II the Chaste of his part of the city.
As the main port of the Crown of Aragon was administrated by the Knights Templars, it became the true Templar capital of the Ebro area and stood out because of its important fluvial commercial activity with Zaragoza and Lleida, as well as the marine commercial activity with the main Western and Near East Mediterranean ports.
The Templar Legacy of Tortosa
The Knights Templars promoted the urban development of new quarters outside the city. Although the city they found had not extended beyond the Roman walls, under their initiative, it expanded to the area comprising the current quarter of Remolins, Santa Clara and the Temple. The place name Temple recalls the situation of the lands that held the commanderys quarters, strategically built by the river, controlling the river pass and the citys main gate.
Even though the Suda castle was not built under the Templarss rule, the Order had significant military duties there. Watching the magnificent view of the river and the city from this fortress, it is possible to understand the strategic importance of the commandery. Its defensive purpose was completed with the control of towers, such as those called Prior, Font del Quinto and Llotja.