(ˈfatimɐ) is a city in Portugal
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
, in the Centro Region and sub region of Medio Tejo. It is in district of Santarém and is included in the urban agglomeration of Leiria, in central Portugal, south of Porto
and north of Lisbon
The name of the town (formerly a small village) comes from the Arabic name Fatima
), and there is an unconfirmed legend that says it derives from a local Moorish
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 Ourém
Fátima's claim to fame is the shrine called the Basilica
, 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.
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.
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.
Fátima's major sports club is the Centro Desportivo de Fátima
which plays in the second highest football league of Portugal, the Liga Vitalis