Tourist’s guide to Fatima, the center of Christian pilgrims in Portugal

The city of Fatima (Portugal) was built by Arabs. They gave him a name, which, due to certain historical events, changed several times. But as a result, the city bears the same name as at the time of its foundation (IX-X century) – Fatima.

General information

Place of pilgrimage in the city

The small city of Fatima with a population of 12 thousand people, located near the capital of the country (130 km). The settlement is part of Santarem County in the central region of Portugal.

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The area filled with pilgrims

The city became famous and visited after the miraculous appearance of the Virgin Mary to three children. This event is recognized by the church as a true miracle. Hundreds of thousands of Catholics come to Fatima every year on May 13, because the city is recognized as the spiritual center of Portugal.

The huge square is able to accommodate everyone who wants to bow to the Mother of God. Fatima Square is also the venue for religious events, and the Basilica building houses various religious orders.

City `s history

Photo: Lucia, Francisco and Jacint
The children, who was the Virgin

The settlement of Fatima became famous thanks to the miraculous appearance of the Mother of God. The saint came to three children – Lucia, her cousin Francisco and cousin Jacinte – six times in the period from May 13 to October 13, 1917. In the religious world, these events are included in the list of the most significant.

Children said that a woman came to them in white robes and always appeared over an oak tree. From it came a light that overshadowed the sunshine. Each time the Mother of God called to repent of sins and pray. Rumors spread quickly in the spirit world, but adults did not believe children’s stories.

Photo taken during the "Dance of the Sun"

In the fall of 1917 in the city of Fatima (Portugal) more than 75 thousand people gathered to see the miracle. Virgin Mary showed the crowd a miracle – with a simple wave of her hands she stopped the rain and dispersed the clouds. The crowd knelt, but the Virgin disappeared. This event has been preserved in history under the name “Dance of the Sun.” Very soon, the small town received the status of the most important shrine of Catholicism.

Interesting fact! The appearance of Our Lady of Fatima is officially recorded and approved by the church. At the beginning of the last century, the construction of the Basilica began, which later became a place of pilgrimage. Here are the relics of all three eyewitnesses, who was the Virgin Mary – Lucia, her cousin and cousin – Jacinta and Francisco.

The Three Revelations of Fatima

Photo: figurine of the Virgin Mary

It is the three revelations or predictions of the Mother of God that attract the attention of pilgrims. In each part terrible visions from the future were described.

In 1948, at the request of the Pope, Lucia recorded all three omens. The essence of the first two revelations is well known, but the meaning of the latter has not yet been deciphered for certain.

During the first appearance, the Holy One showed the children the gates of hell. At the same time, she asked people to pray in order to save their souls, otherwise a terrible war would ensue.

Also, Virgin Mary warned that she would pick up two children. Very soon, in 1919, Lucia’s cousin and cousin died. After 70 years, the church recognized them as reverends, and the Pope made them blessed. Their sister Lucia became a nun and lived to be 98 years old. She died in early 2005, on the occasion of this event in Portugal declared mourning and suspended the election.

Photo: Nun Lucia
Nun Lucia

During the second appearance, Madonna told about the appearance of communism about the terrible bloodshed. She said that Russia needs to return to church and faith, only this way the world will remain calm, if this does not happen, troubles and wars begin, entire nations disappear.

In an omen, the Mother of God spoke of an unusual radiance in the sky. At night in late January 1938, a unique northern lights of blood-red color was recorded in different parts of Western Europe. Lucia recognized the unknown light predicted by the Virgin.

The third omen of the Virgin Mary was kept secret for many years, with many rumors, conjectures and riddles associated with it. The secret was made public in 2000 at the personal request of Lucia. As it turned out, the omen concerned an attempt on the Pope. The Mother of God predicted an attempt to assassinate the Pope, but the bishop is destined to survive, since he must save the world from communism.

Interesting fact! As eyewitnesses describe, an explosive bullet fired at Pope John Paul II unexpectedly changed its trajectory and did not damage vital organs. Subsequently, the bishop gave a bullet to the temple in Fatima. Today it is kept in the crown of the Virgin.

Photo: Pope John Paul II
Pope after being shot

From the age of 18, Lucia wrote a diary about the appearance of the Mother of God in Fatima in Portugal. The records are known as the Message of Fatima. In them, the nun spoke in detail about the prediction of the most terrible warriors – the First and Second World War, about the persecution of the Jewish people. The records were sent to the Vatican, however, there they were classified, but in 1981 they were published.

What to see in Fatima

After the appearance of the Virgin Mary in the Portuguese city of Fatima is officially confirmed by the church, pilgrims from all over the world flock here every year.

Photo: figure of the Mother of God

At the beginning of the last century, the Basilica was built, which seats less than one thousand people. This was not enough, so the city authorities of Fatima decided to build an area that can accommodate 200 thousand people. Later, the Temple of the Apparition was built opposite the Basilica. Near it are monuments to priests.

Each year, the city of Fatima receives pilgrims and believers who come from all over the world. At this time, the statue of the Virgin Mary is installed on the street, on the altar. The service lasts all night.

If you come to a religious center, be sure to visit the attractions of Fatima in Portugal.

Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima
Photo: Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima

This is an amazing architectural complex built in the town of Fatima (Portugal) on the spot where the Virgin Mary was.

The complex consists of:

  • chapels;
  • a temple decorated with colonnades;
  • The basilica.

Undoubtedly, the Basilica is the main part of the complex. Built in 1928 and decorated in neo-baroque style. It is in front of it that there is an area where services and sermons are held. To make the priest’s speech heard by everyone, speakers were installed around the perimeter of the square.

Basilica of the Fatima Virgin Mary Rosary
Photo: Basilica of the Virgin Mary

The construction of the shrine lasted 16 years, and in 1944 was completed. After 9 years, she was consecrated. It was on the site of the temple every month on the 13th that the Madonna appeared to the children. Since then, tourists and pilgrims come here every year on the 13th of May and October. In total, more than 4 million people come to the city every year. In front of the building there is an area 2 times the size of St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican. At the same time, it can accommodate 200 thousand people without problems.

Photo: Basilica inside
Basilica Interior

The windows of the Basilica are decorated with stained glass windows, which depict the miraculous appearance of the Madonna. In the middle of the last century, an ancient organ was installed in the Basilica building.

The chapel of the church bears the name of the Apparition of the Virgin. It is decorated with a column made of marble, on which a statue of the Virgin Mary is installed.

Chapel of the Apparition of the Virgin Mary
Photo: chapel of the Apparition of the Madonna

On the territory of the sanctuary there are many chapels, in the central part, where a miraculous phenomenon occurred, the chapel of the Apparition of the Virgin Mary is located. A marble pillar is installed near the chapel. The chapel is small, erected in the spring of 1919 by the efforts of local residents. The first service in it was held in 1921, however, a year later the chapel was destroyed, and a year later it was restored.

Holy Trinity Basilica
Exterior of the Church of the Holy Trinity

It is one of the largest Catholic churches – designed for 9 thousand people. This is a relatively new attraction, its construction ended in 2007.

The building has an atypical shape for the church – it is low, without domes and more like a gallery or exhibition center.

The consecration of the Church of the Holy Trinity was dedicated to the 90th anniversary of the miraculous appearance of the Mother of God.

Temple interior

Construction work was led by an architect of Greek origin. Funds for the construction donated by parishioners and pilgrims. The facade and interior are decorated in the Byzantine style, in addition, the landmark rooms are decorated with paintings by famous masters. A mosaic made by hand from tiles has been perfectly preserved to this day. 13 doors are equipped to enter the Basilica, this number symbolizes 13 people who were present at the Last Supper. Famous biblical quotes translated into 23 languages ​​are applied to the walls.

What to do during the pilgrimage

The procession on my knees

Pilgrims who come to Fatima to repent of their sins pass the entire vast area, kneeling down. They follow from the Basilica of the Virgin Mary to the new temple. The spectacle is truly mesmerizing when thousands of believers humbly on their knees crawl across the square. Many wrap their knees with cloth, because you need to move around cement stones. Older people come here, they are helped by younger ones, holding hands.

Most often people come here to ask for health and healing. You can do this in the following way. Near the temple they sell wax products that imitate parts of the body. You need to buy a part of the body that needs healing, and throw it in the smelting furnace, which is located next to the temple.

Advice! After visiting the sanctuary, be sure to go to the Wax Museum. Here are collected exhibits telling about the history of the sanctuary.

Photo: at the wax museum

The cost of an adult ticket is 6 euros, and a child ticket is 3.5 euros. You can also stroll through the olive grove, where you can relax. You can get to the grove as follows – from the temple follow to the center of the square, where the statue of the Virgin Mary is located, from it you need to turn left. Adjoining the square is the main street of the city, named after Lucia’s cousin – Francisco. On this street there are shops with religious products, souvenir shops, museums and hotels.

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How to get to Fatima

1. Alone on the bus

Buses follow from the capital of Portugal to Fatima, the journey takes just 1.5 hours.

  • Departure point – Oriente station, from platforms 46-49.
  • Buses go to Fatima from 7:30 to 19:00. In total there are 10 flights operated by Rede Expressos per day.
  • Ticket price – 12 euros, discounts apply for children and senior citizens. A travel document can be bought on the company’s website or directly at the station at the box office.
2. With a guided tour

Another option is to purchase a sightseeing tour of the golden ring of Portugal. In addition to Fatima, tourists visit the monasteries of Alcobas and Batalha, the fishing village of Nazare and the small fortified town of Obidos. The cost of such a tour will cost at least 75 euros.

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It is difficult to imagine that ninety years ago no one knew about the city of Fatima (Portugal), and the settlement did not stand out on the map of the country. Large-scale changes took place in May 1917, since then the history of the town has changed. Today it is a world-famous religious center of Catholicism.

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