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Alcochete



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On the southern shore of the Tagus estuary and located at a short distance from Lisbon, Alcochete is a pleasant old town whose history and cultural atmosphere have been traditionally marked by two features: an ancient salt industry, whose importance is portrayed by the Salt Nucleus of the Municipal Museum and the saltpans which may still be seen around the town, and a taste for horse and bull breeding, ascertained by colourful festivities such as the Festa do Barrete Verde (green cap festival), held in August, typical bullfights and the small Museu Taurino (bull museum).

In terms of monuments and architecture, Alcochete boasts of a rich religious patrimony which includes several fine churches, such as the town's Mother Church (built on the site of an ancient mosque in the 14th century, it was altered over the centuries and exhibits a Gothic façade, doorway and rose-window), the Miserichord Church (dating from the 15th century and lodging a Religious Art Museum) or the 15th-century chapel of Our Lady of Life, with a Mannerist façade and 18th-century panels of tiles, among other temples.

The county of Alcochete includes part of the Tagus Estuary Nature Reserve, a vast area of water, salt marshes and islets which may be visited by boat to observe the wildlife, namely large flocks of migrating water birds, and the vegetation growing by the saltpans.

Alcochete is also known for its gastronomy, which attracts a large number of visitors from the Greater Lisbon area, specially during weekends. Local specialities reflect the region's link to the river and offer dishes such as caldeirada à fragateiro (with a variety of fish), ensopado de enguias (eel stew with bread), grilled sardines, fish soup and amêijoas alcochetanas (cockles), besides typical desserts such as arroz doce branco (white rice pudding made without eggs) and fogaças (sweetened bread).

Handicrafts include typical Portuguese guitars, boat miniatures, small sculptures made with oyster shells, painted ceramics and other decorative objects.

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