Rede de Judiarias de Portugal


During the Middle Ages Alenquer witnessed the establishment of its first Jewish Community. It took root in a zone of the historic center that still preserves the names of Jewry Street, Lane and Alley.
In the middle of the 15th Century this community should already encompass about 90 Jews in that area. The most common professions corresponded to what was normal in other communes: tailors, shoemakers and various artisans. There are historical data showing the economic strength of the Jews from Alenquer since they contributed with one of the highest rates (taxes) to the kingdom.

Alenquer is the home of Damiao de Gois, who, not being Jew, was one of the most famous victims of the Inquisition. This humanist and historian, great personality of the Renaissance was named chief guard of the Royal archives of Torre do Tombo.
In 1560 he ordered the restoration of the Church of “Santa Maria da Varzea”, a place he had prepared to receive himself after his death (1574).
In the middle of the 20th Century the Chapel with his tomb was moved to S. Pedro Church.

The cemetery (autonomous from the Christian one) was located very close to the “Varzea” church, also outside the walls and in the place that later became the home of the Royal Paper Factory. Churchyard of the Jews was the name by which this area was known in the 15th Century.


The toponym "Jewry" persisted in Alenquer with the passing of the centuries and continues to identify a historical neighborhood, where the Jewish community, which had importance in the Middle Ages, lived.

The historian Guilherme Henriques refers to it in these terms:

"At the end of “Street of the Walls”, near the door of Our Lady of Conception, there are a few yards and some ruined houses called 'Jewry'. The specific neighborhood of this laborious and proscribed race [...] was exactly here, and the fact that it was reduced to backyards was probably due to the disgust Christians felt in inhabiting the houses that had served this persecuted and despised people."

Around 1442, there are documents that state the existence of 18 Jews in the town, corresponding only to householders. João P. Ferro, author of Alenquer Medieval, states that the number of Jews could range between 63/90, being most of them artisans. “It was a very rich community" which paid collectively more taxes than the municipalities of Santarém, Leiria, Lamego, Porto, Tomar, Setúbal and Coimbra, being surpassed only by Lisbon, Beja, Guarda and Moncorvo.

Found guilty of setting on fire the Várzea Church, the Jews were expelled from town in the XV century, not before being sentenced to rebuild the temple.

A document from the XV century, quoted by João P. Ferro in Alenquer Medieval, refers to the “Churchyard of the Jews", the cemetery, which was the place where, in the early XIX century, the Royal Paper Factory was built.


Câmara Municipal de Alenquer
Praça Luís de Camões
2580-318 Alenquer
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Telefone: 263 730 900
Fax: 263 711 504


-    Jewish Quarter   - Bairro Judeu
-    Castle -Castelo
-    St. Peter’s Church with the tomb of Damião de Góis (16th Century)
-    Igreja de São Pedro com o túmulo de Damião de Góis (século XVI)
-    Wine Museum – Museu do Vinho
-    Industrial archeology – Arqueologia Industrial

Tourism Office – Alenquer
Parque Vaz Monteiro, Largo Espirito Santo
2580-301 Alenquer
Telephone: 263 733 663

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