Lovely towns

One of the larges pilgrimage places in the world. Whether you're religious or not, this place is absolutely impressive.

In the spring of 1917 the 3 shepherds children Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco saw the apparition of the “lady of the rosary”. The first time this happened was on 13 May 1917, and after that day she returned every month until the last time on 13 October 1917. During her apparitions she tells the children 3 secrets.

Pilgrimage

Since then Fátima became an important pilgrimage place. Every year on 12 and 13 May, and 12 and 13 October, thousands of pilgrims travel to Fátima.
The most important building is the Basílica de Nossa Senhora do Rosário (basilica of our lady of the rosary), a neo-classic church on the edge of the large square. The tower is 65 meters high, and the church is flanked by impressive colonnades that refer to other parts of the complex.
On the square visitors can follow the mass in the Capela das Aparições (chapel of the apparitions). In this chapel the exact location of the apparitions is marked by a statue of Maria. Inside the basilica are the graves of the 3 children. Lucia, who died in 2005 at the age of 96, was buried in the basilica in 2006.

Church of the Holy Trinity

Fátima is also the home base of the 4th largest catholic church in the world, the Igreja da Santíssima Trindade (church of the holy trinity).
This church was inaugurated in 2005 and has 9,000 seats. Renowned artists from Ireland, Canada, Portugal, Slovenia and Germany were involved in the construction. One can enter the church through 13 doors, the main entrance and the other 12 doors symbolize Jesus and the 12 apostles. Behind the altar is a mosaic, partly decorated with gold leaf. The gold represents the search for light by mankind. When you look at the left part of the mosaic, you see Mary and in front of her the 2 children who died young, behind her on the left you see Lucia. If you look even better at the mosaic you will see that the third woman from the left is Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
An Irish artist has made the crucifix above the altar. She has portrayed Jesus here with his head high and his eyes open. The idea behind this is the resurrection of Jesus looking at humanity.
On the outside of the church you see a statue of a pope on every corner. The best known is pope John Paul II, who had a warm relationship with Fátima. In 2000 he blessed Francisco and Jacinta, who died in 1919 and 1920.

 

 

Probably the most well known coastal village of the Costa de Prata

Originally Nazaré was a fishing village. Not so very long ago the fishermen used oxes to pull the boats out of the water, helped by men and women standing in the water. Now you can only see this on painted tiles (azulejos) for sale in the many souvenir shops.

The fishermen now use a modern harbour on the southside of the village. On the promenade you can still see the women of Nazaré in their remarkable traditional clothes, wearing and short skirts (in 7 layers) and colourful scarfs and socks. They dry the catch of they day on racks, they sell dried fruits, or rent out rooms to tourists.

Because of the extensive beach, Nazaré is one of the most popular seaside resorts in central Portugal, and especially during the summer months it's very lively. But be aware: the sea can be very rough. And that’s exactly why Nazaré hosts surfing championships every year. The American Garrett McNamara set a new worldrecord in November 2011 with riding a wave more than 27 metres high. In January 2013 he broke is own record by surfing a wave of a stunning 34 metres.

O Sítio

High above the town is O Sítio, which can be reached by a funicular. All of Nazaré can be seen from there, and on a clear day you can see as far as Peniche.

On the main square in Sítio is the Capela da Memória, a small chapel almost completely covered with azulejos.

Also on the square is the 17th century Nossa Senhora da Nazaré Church. Again many azulejos, but more important is the black Madonna. Twice per year this statue attracts many pilgrims: Assumption Day on 15 August, and Romaria da Senhora da Nazaré in the second week of September.

Museums

  • Museu Etnográfico Dr. Joaquim Manso: history and folclore of Nazaré

  • Casa Museu do Pescador: exhibition about the fishing population of Nazaré, located in a traditional fishermen's house

 

www.cm-nazare.pt

In Conímbriga one of the largest Roman settlements of Portugal was found, and therefore declared National Monument.

The remains are of a very good quality. You can see an aquaduct of about 3 kilometers of length, a part of the forum and a temple, some graves, fortress walls with towers, and the foundations of some houses.

At the "Casa dos Mosaicos", the house with mosaics, you can see beautiful decorations with geometric figures, flower ornaments, and animal images.

At the "Casa das Termas", the house with the thermal baths, you can recognize the hot and cold baths. You can also see the heating system that used underfloor hot air circulation to heat the rooms. A system that is still in use nowadays!

In the Museu Monográfico, also part of the site, you can see all kinds of objects that were found in the excavations, like coins and surgical tools.

www.conimbriga.pt

Glass town with English twist

Marinha Grande is located between Leiria and the coast. Since the second half of the 18th century it is the centre of glass manufacturing industry.

The Royal Glass Factory (Real Fabrica de Vidros) was bought by an English entrepreneur William Stephens who developed the factory and the business under the protection of the Marques de Pombal, and added a glassblowing school. The wood from the nearby pine forest was used to fuel the factories.

In 1826, the factory was given to the state and became one of the country's main producers of traditionally made fine crystal.

The former palacial home of William Stephens now contains the Museu do Vidro da Marinha Grande (glass museum) which houses glassware from the 17th-20th centuries.

Two other museums in Marinha Grande:

Museu Santos Barosa: Santos Barosa is the oldes glass factory in Portugal, and still working. The factory also has a museum, its collection shows how glass was made and used through the ages.

Museu Joaquim Correia: the former residence of one of the most leading families of Marinha Grande. It is a 19th century house, and contains the artistic heritage of Joaquim Correia. He was born in 1920 in a family of glassblowers. He studied the art of sculpting, first in Porto and later in Lisbon. He was a student of famous artists like Simões de Almeida, Francisco Franca, Barata Feyo and António Duarte.