Shrines of Europe

Who we are

The Shrines Of Europe - Association of European Shrines Cities, is formed by seven municipalities that host important marian pilgrimage locations: Altötting (Germany), Czestochowa (Poland), Einsiedeln (Switzerland), Fátima/Ourém (Portugal), Loreto (Italy), Lourdes (France) and Mariazell (Austria).

These seven cities have in common the ecumenical and spiritual vocation of the pilgrimages, the similarities between the territories, the socio-economic and urban development that justify the cooperation between our European municipalities.

Based on these aspects, the association works to provide the best possible experience for the travelers that visit our countries, promoting the association, through a cultural network, based on institutional and private partnerships.

Over the past 25 years, the Shrines of Europe Association developed several initiatives such as sharing knowledge, good management, and planning practices in a committed and cooperative way. During this time, all the partners organized several conferences and international meetings focused on the challenges of religious tourism and social and cultural dynamics associated with pilgrimages.

However, given the new demands and needs, the association's work has been restructured over time. Hence, on the 4th of December 2020, the partners founded the 'The Shrines of Europe - Association of European Shrine Cities'.

This association aims to improve the responses to the needs and preferences of pilgrims and travelers. We work to establish the connection between all the promoters associated with religious tourism by providing services and products that support religious activities, itineraries, cultural experiences, and the communication of festivals and traditions, which are part of the cultural and historical heritage of every territory.

Goal of the Shrines of Europe

The following strategic goals provide a framework which identify what is important in the organizational strategy in the long-term perspective:

  • To strengthen the role and importance of the Shrines of Europe and to foster more cooperation within the network
  • To develop a shared policy vision for the future, and to manage a common brand putting in place a marketing strategy
  • To pursue common cultural, creative and social activities through exchange programmes, sustainable actions, cocreation or sharing resources in order to reinforce cultural valorisation policies, heritage promotion and creative innovation in each city member
  • To affirm European values and contribute to intercultural, intergenerational and peace dialogue
  • To create a ‘Cultural Route’ aiming to reinforce cooperation and promotion both of the network and the cities members
  • To share knowledge and good practices
  • To identify sanctuary cities that may join the network in the future
  • To promote the cities internationally as a relevant network destination in Europe, delivering unique experiences in faith, spirituality, cultural and leisure activities
  • To work with partners in order to diversify markets and target audience
  • To raise funding sources to increase the operation and the effectiveness of the association

Our vision

Our heritage of centuries, and also the varied cultural history, created the identity of our shrine cities which perfectly reflects the values of the municipalities and has a great impact in our communities, countries and far beyond our boundaries.

For all of these reasons the ‘Shrines of Europe’ members carrying the European ideals, storytelling and values which we promote under a common brand with the purpose to invite people all around the world to visit and discover these faith historic places in Europe.

Pilgrims and visitors will be all welcomed in our communities with joy and open arms, invited to dive deeper in each municipality's traditions and culture, as well as discover the surrounding region and the links that tied us.

The Shrines of Europe also stand for providing safety, unique experiences and support pilgrims and visitors on their way to gain spiritual consolation and new strength for living

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