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Fatima in Portugal

Updated on April 28, 2016

Located in Portugal, Fatima is a small city known all over the world, specially for the Roman Catholic members, since it was there that the miracle took place on the 13th May of 1917.

Nowadays, Fatima is a small city, big sanctuary, and it is the most touristic place in the inland of Portugal. It has only around 12.000 residents over the year but it receives around 5 million of pilgrims and tourists per year, specially on the 13th of May, the day after the candles' procession day. Fatima is one of the Top 5 cities in Portugal in number of tourists and one of the main tourist destinations without beach.

Fatima is one of the Catholic places that is worth to visit, there are tours to visit the sanctuary from Lisbon Airport. Specially for the Catholics, the sanctuary will have a meaning, a special place.

If you are not catholic you will find it a small town with a huge sanctuary, and if you want to know more, there are several museums in the city.

The sanctuary of Fatima
The sanctuary of Fatima

Why Fatima

There are several stories to explain the name of the city. However the place to build the sanctuary was easier to decide.

Almost a century ago, in 1917, near were the sanctuary is actually, the 3 children (Pastorinhos/ Shepherds) saw Our Lady of Fatima and heard the 3 secrets. The original place is called "Cova da Iria", but since many people wanted to visit the place of the apparitions, it was raised a sanctuary in Fatima.

Cova da Iria was a field that belonged to the parents of one of the children, Lúcia Santos. It was in that terrain that the three children were working while they saw Our Lady of Fatima.

Where is Fatima?

Fatima is located in Portugal, near the city of Leiria, the 18th biggest city in Portugal with around 50.000 inhabitants.

It is located in the center region of Portugal, being 120km away from the main airport in Portugal, the Lisbon International Airport (LIS).

Other distances from main cities with airports:

  • 130km from Lisbon (Capital city)
  • 200km from Oporto (North)
  • 366km from Faro (South)

Due to the importance of the sanctuary, there are bus companies that can take you to Fatima. However, there are no buses directly from the Airport to the sanctuary, you will need to go to a bus station in the city. You can see more on a bus company website Rede Expressos.

Fatima has a great number of hotels and houses to accommodate tourists and pilgrims.

Fatima can get really crowd during Summer

People in Fatima
People in Fatima

The Pope in Fatima

The Pope has been in Fatima for several times.

  • In 1982 the Pope was hurt due an assassination attempt.
  • In 1991 the Pope also visited the Portuguese islands.
  • In 2000 the three children were beatified.
  • In 2010, Pope Bento XVI visited Fatima on the 13th of May.
  • In 2017, a century will have passed after the appearing, and the Pope will be in Fatima for the celebrations.

Images of the first years

The Three Secrets

It was on the 13th of July of 1917 that when our Lady of Fatima appeared to the 3 shepherds for the third time

- First Secret - Related with the First World War, it said that there would be many lost souls in Europe. Portugal would be spared from such disaster.

- Second Secret - Russia and Communism - Our Lady said that Russia would spread their mistakes all over the world.

- Third Secret - A Bishop dressed in white would fall. It is believed that this means the Pope would be killed.

Procession of the Candles

The procession of the candles happens during the night of the 12th May and it is one of the main events and most emotional event to pilgrims.

The best way to describe it is by viewing it.

Different Opinion

According to some historians, this was not a miracle. It was an event "produced" by the Catholic Church that was losing power to the Secular Governments, after the Implantation of the Republic in 1910.

The Portuguese Government decided to enter in the Great War in 1916, and Portugal and the Portuguese People were suffering great losses, human and economic. Many people wanted back the Monarchy, and the Church was seen as saviors..

By 1917 the people were anxious for help, and for faith, so some historians say that all this was considered by the Church and the Event was created.

A clip from the 1952 movie Miracle Of Our Lady Of Fatima as the Blessed Virgin Mary

The three children of Fatima

The three children of Fatima
The three children of Fatima


The commitment to Our Lady of Fatima in the Roman Catholic Church has a long history of relationship with rightist and even rightist gatherings. At the season of the spectres, Portugal was experiencing strains between the secularizing Republican government and more moderate components in the public arena.The Catholic resistance thought about the activities of the Portuguese government to the contemporary activities of the Russian Bolsheviks.

Later in Spain, as the powers of the Republic assembled quality, the Virgin Mary was to be discovered driving the armed forces of the loyal extended against the Godless. During the Spanish Second Republic, the Virgin Mary would be seen on Spanish soil at Ezquioga. Ramona Olazabal demanded Mary had denoted the palms of her hands with a sword. Soothsayers increased much assurance in Integrist and Carlist circles. The dreams at Ezquioga were broadly secured in the press, similar to the sixteen different appearances of the Virgin to Spain in 1931. Traditionalist components in the Spanish Church effectively energized the Fatima commitment as a method for countering the apparent danger of agnostic Communism. In Portugal and its previous state of Brazil, Fatima and conservative gatherings were likewise unequivocally recognized.

At the point when Hitler attacked Russia in 1941, numerous Catholics translated this as far as the Fatima spectres thinking the Virgin's prediction finally was going to be satisfied. A few Catholics enthusiastically joined the battle and enrolled in the Spanish Army's Blue Division that was locked in on the Eastern front. The distribution of Sister Lucia's Memoirs after the flare-up of WW II and the emphasis on Russia and "her blunders" in the affirmed messages of the Lady further restored this hostile to comrade component. The Blue Army of Our Lady of Fátima, for occurrence, has dependably been firmly hostile to Communist and regularly put the Fatima story into the setting of the Cold War. The Blue Army is comprised of Catholics and non-Catholics who trust that by devoting themselves to day by day petition (particularly, of the Rosary) they can accomplish world peace and put a conclusion to the blunder of Communism. Associations, for example, the Blue Army have picked up the endorsement of the Catholic Church. Different gatherings, for example, the International Fatima Rosary Crusade drove by Fr. Nicholas Gruner have deciphered the message of Fatima in a more compelling manner and have been reprimanded by the Church. T

hese gatherings are for the most part restricted to Communism, as well as to Modernism (Roman Catholicism), and the advancements of the Second Vatican Council.


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    • saitam profile image

      saitam 5 years ago from Lisbon

      Thank you craiglyn. I am glad you liked the hub and the place.

      The procession of the Candles is a truly unique moment.

    • craiglyn profile image

      Lynda 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      My husband and I visited Fatima as part of our tour of Spain and Portugal back in 2006. Enjoyed it tremendously. I really enjoyed your video "Procession of the Candles". It gave me chills. Very interesting hub.

    • saitam profile image

      saitam 5 years ago from Lisbon

      Thank you, glad you enjoyed.

    • Paul Kuehn profile image

      Paul Richard Kuehn 5 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      As a Roman Catholic, this hub is very interesting and useful. Voted up and sharing with followers.