Projects and Activities of the Shrines of Europe

VII. International Workshop on Religious Tourism in Fátima - March 7th to 9th 2019

The Shrines of Europe Cities participated in the VII International Workshop on Religious Tourism held in the city of Fátima from March 7th to 9th.

The IWRT isorganized by ACISO - The Ourém-Fátima Business Association, with the support of Operational Program of the Center Region, the Ourém Municipality, Guarda Municipality Turismo do Centro and Turismo de Portugal.

About 700 participants were present, including 150 Hosted buyers, 150 Suppliers and 40 Exhibitors, all of them from the Tourism sector.

Further information at

Cooperation Agreement signed by the Shrines of Europe Partners

During the working meeting in Fatima on the 6th of March 2019, the Mayors of the Shrines of Europe cities signed a new cooperation agreement highlighting important future steps for the development of the network.

The decisions include the future creation of a formal association with the aim of strengthening the cooperation and the goal to set up a proposal for the EU Cultural Routes program.

Furthermore a marketing strategy for 2019 focusing on digital marketing, SEO activities and social media marketing has been adopted and will be implemented.

Shrines of Europe working meeting in Fátima

(6th March 2019)

The delegations of the Shrines of Europe group: Lourdes, Czestochowa, Loreto, Einsiedeln, Mariazell and Altötting met in Fátima, upon invitation of the President of Ourém/Fátima Luís Miguel Albuquerque. During a working meeting in the town hall of Ourém, important decisions about the future collaboration of the workin group Shrines of Europe were taken.

Another important point on the agenda was a presentation by Mayor Anton Salman from the city of Bethlehem. The presentation about the history of the city, its pilgrimage and vision were very enriching for the group. It was unanimously deliberated to accept the Municipality of Bethlehem from Palestine as an associated partner of the Shrines of Europe.

2019: Working meeting of the Shrines of Europe cities in Altötting, Bavaria

From January 27 to 29, representatives of all the seven Shrines of Europe cities met for a working meeting in Altötting, the Bavarian National Shrine. Among the topics of the technical working meeting were above all discussions about a triennial budget and thorough debates about concrete marketing measures to be taken in the following month.

Besides the intensive working meeting there was enough time for a visit to the Chapel of Grace, which is located in the middle of the baroque Chapel Square, where the delegates were impressed by the history and traditions of the more than 500 years of pilgrimage history in Altötting.

Delegations of the Shrines of Europe in the city hall of Altoetting
2018 - Working meeting of the Shrines of Europe in Mariazell, Austria

From October 18th to 22nd, the Shrines of Europe cities held their yearly working meeting in the Austrian pilgrimage town Mariazell.

The Mayors of Altötting, Einsiedeln, Fatima, Lourdes, Loreto and Mariazell discussed together with the tourism tecnicians about important next steps in the further development of the network. The delegation of Czestochowa could not participate in the meeting due to local elections. An important study conducted by the university of Aveiro near Fatima served as a ground for discussions about the future development and the intensification of the joint work.


On the occasion of the centenary of the apparitions of Fatima (1917-2017), the International Congress on Religious Tourism and Pilgrimage was organized jointly by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the Ministry of Economy of Portugal and the Municipality of Ourém.

The Congress reflected on the potential and the role of religious tourism and sacred places as a tool for socio-economic and cultural development of destinations. Knowing the motivations that lead millions of peoples to travel to sacred places is an essential condition for the sustainable development of destinations.

Shrines of Europe Partners participated in the congress.


Einsiedeln - the most important place of pilgrimage in Switzerland in veneration of the Virgin Mary became a member of the Shrines of Europe network.

During a festive celebration in the Monastery of Einsiedeln, Franz Pirker, representative of the District of Einsiedeln received the official welcome certificate, signed by all the mayors of the Shrines of Europe partners.

The festivities were followed by a working meeting of all the cities' mayors and municipal representatives, agreeing on further joint marketing acitivities.


The Treasury and Pilgrimage Museum in Altötting houses precious objects representing more than 500 years of pilgrimage history in Altötting. Among the precious objects is also a golden wall dedicated to the Shrines of Europe. A copy of each of the Shrines' Madonna represents this valuable working group. On the occasion of the reception of the new member Einsiedeln, a copy of the Madonna of Einsiedeln was installed in the museum by Mayor Herbert Hofauer and the Rector of the Shrine Prelate Mandl in November 2017.

September 2016

The working group Shrines of Europe gathered in Czestochowa and celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Shrines of Europe association.
Shrines of Europe was founded in 1996.