Fatima is a small town located in central Portugal, known for its religious significance as a major Catholic pilgrimage site. The town is home to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima, which attracts millions of visitors each year.
The story of Fatima began in 1917, when three young shepherd children, Lucia Santos, Jacinta Marto and Francisco Marto, claimed to have seen an apparition of the Virgin Mary while they were tending to their sheep. Mary appeared to the children on the 13th of every month from May to October, and during these appearances, she imparted important messages to the children, including a prophecy of the end of World War I and a warning about the dangers of atheism and the need for prayer and repentance.
The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima was built in the 1920s to commemorate the apparitions, and it includes the Chapel of the Apparitions, where the children first saw Mary, as well as the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary, which contains the tombs of Jacinta and Francisco Marto. The sanctuary also includes the Holy Trinity Church and the candle-lit Way of the Cross.
Every year, on the 13th of May and the 13th of October, thousands of pilgrims from all over the world gather in Fatima to commemorate the apparitions and participate in religious ceremonies and processions. The most famous of these is the Candlelight Procession, held on the evening of the 13th of May and the 13th of October. Pilgrims carry candles and walk in silence through the streets of Fatima to the Chapel of the Apparitions.
Fatima is also home to many other religious sites, including the Capelinha das Aparições, which is a replica of the small chapel where the children first saw the Virgin Mary, and the Valinhos, which is a small hill where Mary is said to have appeared to the children after the apparitions at the chapel ended.
In addition to its religious significance, Fatima also offers visitors a chance to experience traditional Portuguese culture and history. The town is surrounded by picturesque countryside, and it is a great place for hiking and nature walks. Visitors can also enjoy local cuisine and traditional crafts.
Overall, Fatima is a unique and spiritual destination that offers visitors a chance to experience the history, culture, and religious significance of Portugal. If you are looking for a place to deepen your faith and connect with the spiritual, Fatima is a must-see destination.