Projects and Activities of the Shrines of Europe

Photography exhibition Pope John Paul II

Following in the footsteps of the Pilgrim Pope.
John Paul II in the cities of the Shrines of Europe.
Pope John Paul II (born May 18, 1920) would celebrate his 100th birthday this year. Reason enough for the Shrines of Europe cities to show a photo exhibition of the Holy Father's trips to Altötting, Czestochowa, Einsiedeln, Fatima, Loreto, Lourdes and Mariazell. The photo exhibition on the occasion of the 100th birthday of the Holy Father was created by Czestochowa.

Visit the Photo exhibition of Pope John Paul II

 Pope John Paul II in the car in Czestochowa
VIII. International Workshop on Religious Tourism in Fátima

March 5/6th 2020: Fátima hosted the VIII. edition of the international workshop on religious tourism.

The tourism representatives of the Shrines of Europe group were present in the workshop and represented their Shrine cities at a promotional table. The conference gave useful insight on up to date topics and the following workshop with one-to-one meetings with hosted buyers from all over the world was an important contact possibility.

Read more

Shrines of Europe Collective Photography Exhibition

4th of March 2020: The Shrines of Europe group inaugurated a collective photography exhibition "Shrines of Europe  - Cities of Pilgrimage and Faith - Heritage of Silence and Peace".

The exibition is on display at the Fátma tourism information centre next to the Shrine from March 4th to May 20th 2020. The exhibition is designed as a travelling exhibition that will visit all Shrines of Europe municipalities in 2020 - 2022.


Read more

Shrines of Europe working meeting in Fátima

Wednesday 4th March, representatives of the Shrines of Europe group met for a regular working meeting in Ourém-Fátima.

On the agenda were mainly technical topics. The representatives of the municipalities of Lourdes, Czestochowa, Altötting, Mariazell and Ourém-Fátima discussed about marketing topics, the marketing and activities plan for 2020 and 2021 as well as a new cultural agenda developed for Easter 2020.

Read more

Holy Week and Easter 2020

Easter is a very important time in the catholic church and is thus celebrated in a very traditional and impressive way.

To give a better overview of the numerous festivities and events in the Shrines of Europe cities the working group elaborated a cultural agenda "Holy Week and Easter 2020 in the Shrines of Europe cities" stating all important events and traditions.

Please consult here for detailed information and a pdf brochure

Unfortunately all events and public masses are cancelled due to the COVID-19 Virus.

Polish Easter Basket from Czestochowa, Shrines of Europe
Celebrating the New Year

New Years Eve is celebrated in various Shrines of Europe cities with beautiful fireworks and public festivities.Take a romantic lantern stroll around Mariazell on the 30th of December to end the year 2019, or participate in one of the festive New Year's Concerts. Among them a festive New Year's Gala Concert with the philharmonic symphony orchestra in Czestochowa. In Einsiedeln, abbot Urban Federer will welcome the new year in the monastery church with a concert "Senses with music and lyrics" together with poet Silja Walter. In Altötitng, something special is happening on January 1st, the new year will be welcomed by gun salutes by Altöttings shooting associations. Lourdes invites visitors to a New Years Concert at the Espace Robert Hessein on January 5th. In Ourém-Fátima families can celebrate on the 6th of January at the christmas animation space with ice rink and carousels. And in Loreto the Jubilée Year granted by Pope Francis is officially opened.

Read More here and celebrate with the Shrines of Europe.


The principle marian pilgrimage cities in Europe wish everyone in Europe and around the world a Merry Christmas and a peaceful New Year 2020!

The working group “Shrines of Europe“ was founded in 1996 and is uniting Europe´s principle Marian pilgrimage sites: Altötting, Czestochowa, Lourdes, Loreto, Fátima, Mariazell and Einsiedeln. Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus Christ, the City of Peace and City of Christmas is an important partner of the Shrines of Europe.

All these places have one thing in common: they provide spiritual consolation and new strength for living. The Christian faith, the European values and the desire for peace are the guidelines of the Shrines of Europe.


The Shrines of Europe at the Religious Tourism Congress in Kraków - Presenting the Shrines Network

Representatives of the Shrines Cities´ Tourism Technician Board joined the Religious Tourism Congress in Kraków, Poland, which had been organized by Ernesto Travel. In a presentation about the Shrine cities and sanctuaries, prepared by the tourism technicians, attendees of the conference learnt about the network. Subsequently, the expo booth was frequently visited and the congress overall was a great success.

Read more

Working meeting in Loreto

At the workshop this September the last changes to the organization’s statutes were discussed. Professor Carlos Costa and Nunu Lopez from the University of Aveiro arrived with the delegation from Fátima, Portugal, and presented the revised statutes. The final version is going to be signed at the meeting in Fátima, in the coming year. Another point on the agenda was the progress made in marketing. The progress in marketing activities, among other services of the website and the Facebook page, which already counts more than 5,800 followers thanks to the joint work, was presented. Special highlights during the stay in Loreto were the guided tour of the Chapel of Mercy, the visit of the mechanical cribs of Loreto and dinner at the tourism school of Loreto, which catered the whole conference.

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.