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Cultural activities

Peniche Churches Route

As its coast has been quite prone to shipwrecks and maritime disasters, the maritime history of Peniche is manifestly filled with tragic episodes involving this fishing community, which reinstate the lasting and conflicting ties between humanity and the sea; the latter whilst providing food and wealth, also wrecks and destroys. This cruel contradiction has given rise to a human experience deeply touched by faith and profound religiousness, quite visible in the sea-related religious worships and feasts, which include the celebrations of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Our Lady of Safe Journey and Our Lady of Good Remedy.The religiousness of this fishing community is equally immortalised by the magnificence of its temples. The chapel of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios and the churches of Nossa Senhora da Ajuda, S. Pedro and Misericódia of Peniche are, for their historic importance and artistic beauty, the most meaningful monuments of the peninsula of Peniche, evoking the deep devotion of its people.The geographical location of Peniche for many centuries justified its relevance, manifested namely in its connection with Vila de Atouguia da Baleia, the former capital city of the Municipality chartered by the first King of Portugal, and in the connection of Serra d’El-Rei to Casa Real. The Municipality’s religious heritage of great value is dispersed throughout the rural parishes, and visiting the churches of S. Leonardo, Nossa Senhora da Conceição e Misericódia (all of which in Atouguia da Baleia), Nossa Senhora da Consolação (in Consolação) and of S. Sebastião (Vila de Serra d’El-Rei), or even S. Estêvão chapel (Baleal) is mandatory under this itinerary.


Bobbin Lace School

Created in 1987, the bobbin lace school of Peniche, emerged with the purpose of ensure this weaving art. It is located in the Peniche turism office, downtown and it is a reference as a defence os this local heritage. The school is attended by students of all ages. The exact beginning of bobbin lace work in Peniche is hard to pinpoint precisely, however it is unquestionable that already in the 17th century the bobbins sticks wriggled in the cylindrical pillows of the Peniche women, giving life to almost naïve forms of drawings traced in the saffron colouredpiqué fabric, as a witness in 1625 reports a lace gift, and a few years later, the painter Josefa de Óbidos includes the theme in many of her paintings. On the other hand, as throughout the Brazilian coast there are the “beach lace” crafts, with artefacts and techniques very similar to those used by the Peniche lace makers, it is fair to assume that, in the beginning of the 17th century, during the migration waves and re-settlement of Brazil, the craft might have gone to Brazil with the wives of the fisherman that have migrated there from the Peniche region, a popular craft that the Peniche women have naturally diffused in the lands of Vera Cruz (Brazil’s former name).


Bobbin Lace Museum

The museum aims to study, preserve and disseminate this important cultural heritage of Peniche. Peniche's Bobbin lace is, undoubtedly, part of the cultural heritage of the people of Peniche – a live heritage, witness of the identity, memories and traditions of this territory.


Peniche Fortress

Built under the command of D. João III in 1557 and completed in 1645 by D. João IV, who considered it the main key to the Kingdom through the sea, the Peniche fortress area has been used in several ways, according to the needs and historical changes of each period. Military square of vital strategic importance until 1897, shelter for Boer refugees from South Africa in the early 20th century, dwelling for German and Austrian prisoners during World War I, political prison of the dictatorial Estado Novo (New State) from 1934 to 1974, temporary lodging of Portuguese families from the ancient ultramarine colonies in 1974 and, since 1984, housing the Museu Municipal (City Museum), the Peniche Fortress assumes special relevance as it is an important document of a local and national historical chronology.


Cape Carvoeiro

The surrounding perimeter of Cabo Carvoeiro (Peniche) is a landscape dominated by a succession of limestone and associated rock formations, of the Lower Jurassic Period (between 200 and 180 million years ago). The existing rock formations are exceptionally well exposed, thus allowing close observation of the continuous and detailed sediment record that unfolds the geological history of Portugal during this period. The numerous geological features present, some of which unique in a national context, are easily verified through intense and unending scientific activity, particularly in the fields of geology and natural history.


City Museum

Implemented in the Peniche Fortress area, the City Museum perpetuates and advertises the municipality’s history and patrimony. It is na area of reference in the national museum context; one of the most visited generic museums in the country. The Peniche City Museum, as a dynamic cultural institution, develops a wide policy of valorisation and advertisement of the historical and ethnographic patrimony of the municipality, through several current activities and projects. Regularly promotes temporary thematic exhibits in order to advertise the museum collection, which is not usually exhibited and/or particular objects, choosing certain thematic days.


Furninha's Cave

Currently located along the sea, this cave was used from the Middle Palaeolithic period to the end of the Chalcolithic era, and was excavated in the 1880s by the researcher Nery Delgado.Used as a shelter and a cemetery, this pre-historical site has given ample archaeological spoils, such as: osteological remains from many hominids, namely Homo Sapiens (Neanderthal Man) and Homo Sapiens Sapiens (Modern Man); remains of animal life from the quaternary period (fish and mammals); utensils from the lithic period (bifacials, spear heads, polished stone axels…); bone utensils; and many ceramic pieces from the Neolithic period (the celebrated suspended vases of the Furninha Cave).These numerous remains are spread throughout many museums. One of them is the Peniche Municipal Museum.


St. John the Baptist Fortress

Built to prevent the island occupation by the North African corsairs or greater enemy powers, it survived until June 1666, when the most remarkable war episode of its history took place.In this occasion, a Spanish squad, composed by fourteen vessels and a caravel, commanded by D. Diogo Ibarra, beset the St. John Baptist fortress. A small guard, with less than twenty men, and depending only on nine artillery pieces, defended this fortress bravely. The Guard under the command of corporal Avelar Pessoa, managed to resist during two days to the fierce enemy assault, as well as inflict important losses to the enemy forces, translated into a large number of casualties, a sank vessel and two other highly damaged vessels, suffering only one casualty and four injuries. The depletion of the resources and ammunition, and the flight of some soldiers, exposed D. Diogo Ibarra to a dramatic situation in the Portuguese defence, and culminated in the S. João Baptista Fortress surrendering.



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