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Fátima ( ) is a city in Portugalmarker famous for the religious visions that took place there in 1917. The town itself has a population of 7,756 and is located in the municipality of Ourémmarker, in the Centro Region and sub region of Medio Tejo. It is in the district of Santarém and is included in the urban agglomeration of Leiria, in central Portugal, south of Portomarker and north of Lisbonmarker.


The name of the town (formerly a small village) comes from the Arabic name Fatima (Fāţimah, Arabic: فاطمة ), the name derives from a local Arabian princess named Fatima who, following her capture by Christian forces during the Reconquista, was converted to Catholicism, and was baptised before marrying the Count of Ourémmarker in 1158 .

Marian apparitions

Fátima is famous for the shrine called the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary, built to commemorate the events of 1917 when three peasant children claimed to have seen the "Virgin of the Rosary", Our Lady of Fátima. When the children asked for her name, she said "I am The Lady of The Rosary". The children experienced the purported Marian apparitions in a pasture called the Cova da Iria.


The economy of the town relies on religious tourism. 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 town has a considerable number of shops and stalls selling all kinds of religious articles, and the streets of the town have plenty of hotels, hostels and restaurants.

Religious events

The large torch-light processions in honor of the Virgin Mary, which is organised in the evening, are particularly impressive. The pilgrims gather in the Cova, on a huge esplanade in which is built a little chapel where the Virgin is believed to have appeared to the children.

The Marian shrine in Fatima, Portugalmarker attracts a large number of Catholics, and every year pilgrims fill the country road that leads to the shrine with crowds that approach one million on May 13 and October 13, the significant dates of Fatima apparitions.

On the far side of the esplanade rises the gigantic basilica, in neo-classical style, with a central tower 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 the three seers, Jacinta and Francisco Marto, who died in 1919 and 1920 respectively in the Spanish flu pandemic, and were beatified in 2000, and Lúcia dos Santos who died in 2005. The Igreja da Santíssima Trindade, one of the largest churches in the world, was built on the other side of the esplanade during the 2000s.

International relations

Twin towns - Sister cities

Fátima is twinned with:


Fátima's major sports club is the Centro Desportivo de Fátima which plays in the second highest football league of Portugal, the Liga Vitalis.


File:Fatima.jpg|Basilica of the RosaryFile:Fatima church.jpg|Inside the BasilicaFile:Chapel Fatima.jpg|The Chapel of ApparitionsFile:Ingreja Santissima Trindade 01.JPG|Church of the Most Holy Trinitymarker, the 4th largest Catholic Church in the World

See also


  1. UMA POPULAÇÃO QUE SE URBANIZA, Uma avaliação recente - Cidades, 2004 Nuno Pires Soares, Instituto Geográfico Português (Geographic Institute of Portugal)
  2. Fátima, From Encyclopædia Britannica
  3. Trudy Ring, 1996, International Dictionary of Historic Places, ISBN 9781884964022 page 245

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