Fatima is a town in Portugal famous for the religious visions that took place there in 1917.
Fatima is a town (vila) of approximately 10,000 inhabitants located in the district of Santarem in central Portugal, 187 kms. south of Porto and 123 kms. north of Lisbon.
A recent attempt in July 2003 to have the town declared a city (concelho) was vetoed by President Jorge Sampaio, causing some controversy.
Fatima's claim to fame, perhaps the reason for its existence, is the shrine called the Sanctuary of Fatima, built to commemorate the events of 1917 when three peasant children claimed to have seen the "Virgin of the Rosary", Our Lady of Fatima.
Fátima now attracts hosts of believers from far and wide, particularly on the pilgrimage days, and the shrine has been developed on a correspondingly large scale.
The large torch-light processions in the evening are particularly impressive.
The pilgrims gather on a huge esplanade in which is built a little chapel where the Virgin is believed to have appeared to the children.
Around the esplanade are a considerable number of shops and stalls selling all kinds of religious articles.
On the far side of the esplanade rises the gigantic Basilica, in neoclassical style, with a central tower 65 meters high, the construction of which was begun on 13 May 1928.
It is flanked by colonnades linking it with the extensive conventual and hospital buildings.
In the Basilica are the tombs of two of the three seers, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, who died in 1919 and 1920 respectively, and were beatified in 2002.
For a more information about Fatima see Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This page was retrieved and condensed from (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fatima) December 2003
All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License (see Copyrights for details).
This information was correct in December 2003. E. & O.E.
I've visited Fatima in 1978 with my daughter.
At that time we had to take a taxi to Fatima, which was, more than 25 km, I was told .
Twenty-five years later I returned with Hui Chin, but Fatima and my memory are 25 years older, nothing, except the Basilica seemed to be the same.
On my last visit, I've seen many wheelchairs, crutches, and walking sticks abandoned in one of the grottos, beside the Basilica. This time I couldn't get near it, because the times I went to check it out, there was a Mass in progress.
Anyway we left Fatima with fresh and happy memories.
You can click on these photos for an enlargement.
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