Ourém: Travel and tourism

The walled medieval town of Ourém is dominated by its castle: built in the 15th century, it is formed by three towers set in a triangle and contains an enormous cistern of pure water which is said to be the reason why it never surrendered under siege.

The Church of Colegiada de Nossa Senhora da Misericórdia was rebuilt in the Baroque style after the devastating earthquake of 1755: of the primitive 15th-century church, only the magnificent tomb of Count Afonso was saved.

At about ten kilometres from Ourém, the Sanctuary of Fátima attracts thousands of pilgrims each year, specially on the 13th of May and the 13th of October, to celebrate the appearances of the Virgin Mary to three shepherd children.

On 13 May 1917, Lúcia and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta saw a shining figure on a holm oak tree who told them to pray for the world and ordered them to return on the same day for the next months. By the 13th October, the children were accompanied by 70 thousand pilgrims, and many spoke of the «miracle of the sun». It was then that Our Lady told Lúcia the «three secrets of Fátima».

The sanctuary is dominated by the neo-baroque Basilica, flanked by statues of saints and with a 65 metres tower and an enormous esplanade where Capela das Aparições marks the place where the Virgin Mary appeared.

There are other sites of interest, as the enormous new basilica, but the most impressive sights are the processions at night, with the pilgrims holding thousands of candles.
Steyler Fátima Hotel Steyler Fátima Hotel
$$$ (50 to 100 euros)

Only a five-minute walk from the Sanctuary of Fátima, this hotel (formerly Hotel Verbo Divino) is the largest in town and impresses with attentive service in a quiet setting.

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