Fatima is a famous pilgrim’s town. It is known as the altar of the world. The Virgin Mary appeared here in 1917 between the 13th of May and the 13th of October to three shepherd’s children, Lucia, who later became a nun, Francisco and Jacinta. During the last appearance, the so-called Miracle of the sun of Fatima took place, witnessed by the three children and a mass of pilgrims. The message of Fatima was a call for prayer and penitence.
The bishop of Leiria officially acknowledged the miracle in 1930. In 1942 Pope Pius XII consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The processions that take place between the 13th of May and the 13th of October every year attract many pilgrims. The pilgrims travel on foot to Fatima. There is a big, white basilica made of limestone with an enormous plaza. On both sides of the basilica are colonnades and other buildings including two hospitals. The Chapel of Apparations marks the spot where the apparations took place.