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Fatima

(4.5/5 based on 4,400+ reviews for top 10 attractions)
Things to do: religious sites, historic sites, sightseeing
Fátima is a civil parish in the municipality of Ourém, in the Portuguese Santarém District. The population in 2011 was 11,596, in an area of 71.84 km². The parish encompasses several villages and localities of which Fátima, with a population of 7,756 residents, is the largest. Part of the urban agglomeration of Leiria, it is 187km south of Porto and 123km north of Lisbon. It has been permanently associated with the Marian apparitions that occurred in Cova da Iria in 1917 and which were later recognized by the Catholic Church.HistoryThe name of the town and parish is a rendition of the Arabic given name Fatima, reportedly the name of a Moorish princess whom Gonçalo Hermigues and his companions kidnapped. The knight took Fatima to a small village of the recently created Kingdom of Portugal, in the Serra de Aire hills. According to the Western narrative, Fatima fell in love with her kidnapper and decided to become herself a Christian to marry him. She was baptized and given a Christian name "Oureana". Arab sources, however, claim that Fatima -as most Reconquest captives- was forced into Christianity, but there is no proof to support either scenarios of her conversion. (Fatimah is also the name of a daughter of Muhammad).
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Where to stay

Supposedly the site of visions of the Virgin Mary back in 1917, Fatima has become a hot spot for visitors and tourists on pilgrimages to its holy sites. Check into one of the town's mid-range hotels and guesthouses, located primarily along the streets leading up to the main square and the Fatima sanctuary. This way you can indulge in comfortable rooms, relatively low prices, and plenty of amenities like pools and restaurants, all within walking distance of the main religious and historical attractions.
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