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LeSon Photography | profile | all galleries >> Visit ... Europe Pilgrimage 2007 >> Fatima, Portugal >> Visit...Town of Fatima tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Visit...Town of Fatima

Fatima is a city in Portugal famous for the religious visions that took place there in 1917. The city itself has a population of 7,756 and is located in the district of Santarem in central Portugal, 187 km south of Porto and 123 km north of Lisbon. F�tima is a parish in the municipality of Our�m.

The name of the town (formerly a small village) comes from the Arabic name Fatima (Fāţimah, Arabic: فاطمة ), and legend says it derives from a local Moorish princess named Fatima who, following her capture by Christian forces during the Islamic occupation of Portuguese territory, was betrothed to Gon�alo Hermigues, Count of Our�m, converted to Catholicism, and was baptised before marrying the Count in 1158. Her baptismal name was Oureana.

Fatima's claim to fame is the shrine called the Sanctuary of F�tima, built to commemorate the events of 1917 when three peasant children claimed to have seen the "Virgin of the Rosary", Our Lady of Fatima. The children actually experienced the Marian apparitions in a pasture called the Cova da Iria near the village of Aljustrel, about a mile from Fatima.

The economy of the town relies on religious tourism. Fatima 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.

________________FATIMA, CENTER OF HOPE______________


The years 1916 and 1917 will be remembered as among the darkest in the history of the peoples of Europe.
The major powers were ferociously tearing one another asunder in a great fratricidal war- the First World War - which was to cause the death of millions of victims.
In 1917, the Bolshevik Revolution broke out in Russia. As time went by, it was to bring to many nations, and even impose by force, the principles of atheism, religious persecution and the negation of the spiritual values of the human person. At that very time, in Fatima, the Angel of Peace and the Virgin Mother of God and of men, brought to the three little shepherds a message of peace, of hope and of love for all mankind.

Portugal, a small nation of but fifty thousand square miles and less than ten million inhabitants, lies to the west of Spain, facing the Atlantic Ocean. Portuguese independence dates from 1143, the year of its decisive victory over the Moors. As a seafaring people and a nation of explorers, Portugal was among the first to venture on the ocean highways towards the discovery of unknown lands, bringing them what was good and what was bad in European civilization of those times.
In 1917, Portugal found itself in a desperate condition, politically, socially and economically. Governments followed one another, all equally unable to solve the nation�s problems. Revolutions , were the order of the day, and the people lost all confidence in their rulers. In the economic field, there was complete bankruptcy; on the military plane, war was being waged on two fronts - in France and in the African colonies. The population of Portugal at that period consisted mainly of humble country folk, honest and hard-working people even if poor in material goods. Where religion was concerned, those in power endeavored to stir up hatred and persecution.

As far back as 1911, Alfonso Costa, then Head of State, approved the law of total separation of the Church and State in the following declaration: "Thanks to this law, Portugal, within two generations, will have succeeded in completely eliminating Catholicism". Schoolchildren were obliged to march through the streets, carrying banners inscribed with the words: "Neither God, nor Religion".

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Fatima monument...>  P1020098.jpg
Fatima monument...> P1020098.jpg
Fatima monument     P1010913.jpg
Fatima monument P1010913.jpg
Fatima monument    P1010912.jpg
Fatima monument P1010912.jpg
The Hotel ...>  P1010887.jpg
The Hotel ...> P1010887.jpg
The Hotel  P1010888.jpg
The Hotel P1010888.jpg
Few relic shops ...>P1010889.jpg
Few relic shops ...>P1010889.jpg