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I was in Fatima with my family to vistit the Temple of the Farima Virgin. The most important and famous religious temple in Portugal. Fatima 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 of Ourém, 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, 187 km (116 mi) south of Porto and 123 km (76 mi) north of Lisbon.

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 65 metres (213 ft) 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.

April 2002

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