Leiria is a very old town in the centre of the country, probably dating back to Roman times, and is known today for its medieval castle.
The Jewish presence is quite old, probably dating back to the 13th century. The Jewish quarter was located between today’s Rua Dom Afonso Henriques and Rua Dom Dinis, named after two former kings. The former synagogue was probably located beneath the Igreja da Misericordia. This church now houses the Centre for Intercultural Dialogue.
It was near the cathedral that one of Portugal’s first Jewish works was printed, the “Almanach Perpetuum” by the scientist Abraao Zacuto. His discoveries in the fields of mathematics and astronomy were essential to Portugal’s great maritime voyages. The book was printed in one of Portugal’s first printing workshops, that of Samuel de Ortas, whose family settled in Leiria in 1492.
Sources : Encyclopaedia Judaica, Rede de Judiarias