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Of Moorish origin, the village of Alenquer was recaptured for the Christians by Dom Afonso Henriques, the first King of Portugal, in the 12th century, in his offensive towards Lisbon, which is only 35 kilometres from Alenquer.

Alenquer is popularly known as the vila-presépio ("crib town"), due to the harmonious layout of its houses on a slope, giving it the shape of an amphitheatre.

Several important figures in the history of Portugal were born in Alenquer, such as Pêro de Alenquer, a 16th century Portuguese navigator who rounded the Cape of Storms (Cape of Good Hope), and Damião de Góis, a great humanist and important figure of the Renaissance in Portugal (17th century).

The main event in this place is the Fair of the Ascension, held annually in May or June (depending on the date of that moveable feast), which attracts many visitors to the region.