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The municipal holiday is Ascension Day. The city was founded in the 12th century, and it has been a fishing port ever since. It has also become a popular tourist destination, mainly for its beaches and its surfing spots (including Praia do Norte), but also because of the surrounding area's natural beauty. The municipality is famous for having one of Europe's most powerful lighthouses: the Farol de Peniche (Peniche Lighthouse). It was built in 1791 on top of an ancient fortification tower that had been erected by King John I to defend against pirates raiding coastal towns along Portugal's western coast during his reign from 1385 to 1433 AD; thus making it one of Portugal’s oldest lighthouses still standing today.