Zenfolio | Marsha Fouks | Ourem and nearby towns

Ourem and nearby towns

July 08, 2015  •  8 Comments


20140924_Ecuador_000120140924_Ecuador_0001   I was hoping for a great sunset but unfortunately there were no clouds.   Chris was admiring the scenery.  

20140925_Ecuador_000320140925_Ecuador_0003  I got up very early the next morning and once again climbed up to the top of the hill for a wonderful view.   This was the second morning where i got up early.  The morning before was cloudy and had too much fog to see much of anything.  


I watched the light change and kept taking photos of the changing conditions.  I also tried many different compositions but I liked these ones the best.

20140926_Ecuador_000120140926_Ecuador_0001 Chris and Gretchen also joined me at sunrise.

20140925_Ecuador_000420140925_Ecuador_0004 The photo above shows the  road we climbed up to get to the Castle of Ourem.  The castle sometimes called the Fatima Castle, is located on top of an isolated mountain that rises out of a vineyard-filled valley.  It is believed that the Phoenicians built a settlement on this site hundreds of years before the birth of Christ.  The castle was built in the 13th century  to defend the Christian land from the invading Moors.  

20140925_Ecuador_000520140925_Ecuador_0005 This shot was taken close to the hotel where we were staying.

20140925_Ecuador_000120140925_Ecuador_0001 Eventually the fog began to clear out and you could actually see the town below.

20140925_Ecuador_000620140925_Ecuador_0006 There was a close-by cemetery which was interesting to walk through in the early morning light.


Fatima is a civil parish in the municipality of Ourem.  The parish was founded in 1568, when it was annexed by the Collegiate of Ourem.  The history of Fatima is associated with three local children who saw (May 13, 1917) an apparition of a lady dressed in white.  The lady, later referred to as Our Lady of the Rosary, indicated that she was sent by God with a message of prayer, repentance and consecrations.  She visited the children on the 13th day of each month from May to October13, 1917.  

20140925_Ecuador_001020140925_Ecuador_0010 During most of the year, the shrine of Fatima is a quiet and peaceful place, visited by locals and the few hundred pilgrims arriving each day.  However, on May 13th (day of first apparition) and October13, (day of the final apparition), half a million pilgrims will crowd into the square  from of the basilica.  During these times, there is an atmosphere of extremely passionate religious devotion, with hundreds of pilgrims crawling toward the shrine on their knees, thousands making vows and much praying and weeping.  On May 12, 1982 Pope John Paul II made a pilgrimage to Fatima and expressed thanks to Mary for saving his life during an assassination attempt the previous year.

20140925_Ecuador_001120140925_Ecuador_0011 People come from all over  Portugal and even the rest of the world  to pray for their sins.  They do this by walking across the square on their knees. It is very common in Portugal for people to  make promises  when facing traumatic situations and these promises generally include walking to Fatima on foot (sometimes hundreds of kilometres) or crossing the sanctuary kneeling.  



20140925_Ecuador_000220140925_Ecuador_0002 After leaving Fatima, we headed to Tomar for a visit.  The town of Tomar was built inside the walls of the Convento do Cristo (pictured above), constructed under the orders of Gualdim de Pais, the fourth grand master of the Knights Templar in the 12th century.  The Convent of Christ has been in the World Heritage list of UNESCO since 1983.  


Tomar is one of Portugal's historical jewels and more significantly was the last Templar town to be commissioned for construction.  Templar was especially important in the 15th century when it was a centre of Portuguese overseas expansion under Henry the Navigator.  In 2013, the Guardian elected The Vonvento de Vristo in Tomar as the most spectacular place to visit in Portugal, " Founded by the Knights Templar, it's a beautiful, mysterious and magical place, wonderful to discover and enjoy".  


A staircase inside.


Lots of colourful windows. 20140925_Ecuador_001920140925_Ecuador_0019





A  long hallway in the convent.  

20140925_Ecuador_000120140925_Ecuador_0001 20140925_Ecuador_000220140925_Ecuador_0002


20140925_Ecuador_000220140925_Ecuador_0002 The convent has a total of eight cloisters, built in the 15th and 16th centuries.  


We ended up going into the town of Tomar and wandering around the historic centre of town.  The Synagogue of Tomar is one of the best preserved of the medieval synagogues of Portugal and houses a small Jewish museum.  The synagogue was built in the mid 15th century by the thriving Jewish community of the town.  When the the Poruguese Jews were expelled and forced to convert in 1496, the synagogue served as a jail, church and after as a storage house.  Since 1939 it functions as a small Jewish Museum.



20140925_Ecuador_002420140925_Ecuador_0024 Later in the afternoon we arrived back in Ourem and I spent some more time wandering around our hotel and the climbed up to the castle. 

20140925_Ecuador_002620140925_Ecuador_0026 I wandered around and I also went inside of  the Castle ruins.  The castle has been listed as a National monument since 1910.  



20140925_Ecuador_002720140925_Ecuador_0027 The last shot of the night.


Gerda Grice(non-registered)
Spectacular photos, Marsha, both of the scenery and of the buildings. Very informative blog, too!
Super pictures of a different culture
Tricia Matheson(non-registered)
Those early morning photos of the fog filled valley reminded me of beautiful Chinese paintings of misty mountains into infinity. Gorgeous work, Marsha! The history and photos about Fatima and the Vonvento de Vristo in Tomar photos were magnificent. I especially loved the one that details all the different kinds of marble, all of it hand carved. Got to go to Portugal!

I loved the foggy, dreamy photos, the grainy ones, the Fatima picture with the background out of focus and one pilgrim in sharp B/W focus, also the one with a great shade of orange in an otherwise monochrome shot. Keep it up!
Breathtaking, Marsha! I wanna go travelling with you!
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