WHO ARE WE

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 pursuit 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.

NEWS + ACTIVITIES

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.

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2017

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...

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2017

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...

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2017

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...

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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...

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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...

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Shrines of Europe working meeting in Fátima

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...

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Shrines of Europe working meeting in Fátima

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...

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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...

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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...

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Shrines of Europe Association

E-Mail: [email protected]