The Fatima Sanctuary is located in the center of Fatima – it is one of the largest sanctuaries in the world with over 5 million visitors a year. The largest pilgrimage occurs on the 12 and 13th May and in October. This Modern church of the Sanctuary was built in 2007 it is 125 meters in diameter.
It was the religious phenomena of the Apparitions of Nossa Senhora de Fátima to the shepherds that led the city’s growth, now with about 10 thousand inhabitants.
According to the legend, a celestial ‘lady shining brighter than the sun’ appeared before the three children, stressing the importance of praying the rosary and informing them that she would reappear on the same date, and at the same time, for five consecutive months. She promised to reveal her identity and perform a miracle on the day of their last meeting.
In the following months, Our Lady delivered three prophecies to the children. On 13th October, at the appointed time, some 70,000 people gathered to await the promised apparition. As the people prayed the rosary, Our Lady appeared and performed what is referred to as the ‘Miracle of the Sun’: the sun began to spin wildly resembling a rolling ball of fire and the heavy rain that had been falling suddenly ceased and the people’s wet garments were miraculously dried.
Visit the imposing neoclassical basilica in the heart of the Fatima sanctuary and the shepherds’ tombs inside. Also noteworthy is the small Chapel of the Apparitions, which marks the place where Our Lady of Fatima appeared. Be sure to see the large block of the Berlin Wall situated near the chapel (a symbol of the end of communism, as revealed in one of the Fatima secrets) and visit the shepherds’ houses in the city of Aljustrel. Walking the Stations of the Cross is one of Fátima’s most popular processions, leading faithful pilgrims to the 14 chapels that represent different stages of the Passion of Christ.
How to Get There
Travelling from Lisbon by bus, go to the central bus station in Sete-Rios (Praça Marechal Humberto Delgado, Rua das Laranjeiras). You can either take a taxi to the station or take the Metro to the Jardim Zoológico stop – the bus station is right outside. Buy a ticket at a ticket office in the station. Buses leave for Fatima approximately every hour from 8am to 8pm. The bus journey costs about €10 each way, takes about 90 minutes and arrives close to the shrine.
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