LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Pope Francis begins a five-day trip to Portugal on Wednesday for World Youth Day, the international Catholic jamboree that is expected to gather around 1 million people.
While in Portugal, Francis will visit the place from where 15th- and 16th-century Portuguese explorers set sail on world-changing voyages to Africa, Asia and South America, a church and monastery that are unique architectural gems, and one of the world’s most popular Catholic shrines where the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to children.
Here’s a look at where Francis will go.
BELEM NATIONAL PALACE
The official reception is at the Palácio Nacional de Belém, which is the Portuguese president’s residence, also known as the pink palace.
It sits beside the Tagus River in the neighborhood of Belem, which in Portuguese means Bethlehem. It was from here that Portugal’s maritime explorers of the 15th and 16th centuries, such as Vasco da Gama, set sail.
The cross and the crown went together on those journeys, though in March the Vatican formally repudiated the Doctrine of Discovery — the theories backed by 15th-century “papal bulls” that legitimized Portugal and Spain’s colonial-era conquests and seizures of land.
BELEM CULTURAL CENTER
The Centro Cultural de Belem was built as the base for Portugal’s first ever presidency, in 1992, of what is now called the European Union.
The pink-and-white stone-trimmed building now houses the Atlantic port’s Contemporary Art Museum and concert halls.
Francis meets here Wednesday with Lisbon’s diplomatic corps, local officials and members of civil society.
JERONIMOS CHURCH AND MONASTERY
The pontiff will be at evening prayers at the Jeronimos Church and Monastery later Wednesday at what arguably is Portugal’s greatest monument. Its construction began in 1501 as King Manuel I’s biggest prestige project.
The site is now one of Lisbon’s signature buildings and one of the city’s architectural gems.
Formerly a quaint fishing village, with narrow streets in its center, Cascais is now a flourishing tourist town with sought-after beaches and is one of Portugal’s wealthiest areas.
Francis travels to Cascais, which is about 30 kilometers (18 miles) west of Lisbon, along the Atlantic coast, to the town on Thursday to visit a branch of Scholas Occurrentes, a youth foundation he launched.
PRACA DO IMPERIO
The broad, gardened Empire Square with its large fountain in Belem was built as part of the 1940 Exhibition of the Portuguese World, an event put on by dictator Antonio Salazar’s government to showcase the empire.
In May, the Vatican recalled a postage stamp promoting World Youth Day following complaints that it celebrated Portugal’s colonial rule and the dictatorship. It featured Francis leading a group of children up Lisbon’s Monument to the Discoveries across the road, which also started out as an exhibit.
The pope will hear confessions in the square on Friday.
The pope will visit Serafina’s community center on Friday. It was a troubled district of the capital at the end of the last century, dogged by drug and crime problems.
But the community center run by Rev. Francisco Crespo has helped it put that past behind it. The neighborhood sits beneath Lisbon’s giant 18th-century aqueduct, an emphatic reminder of the bounty that gold from its Brazilian colony afforded Portugal.
PARQUE EDUARDO VII
Central Lisbon’s largest park, Parque Eduardo VII, rises to a ridge offering a view to the Tagus River over downtown Lisbon. It was named in 1903 for King Edward VII of Britain, who had visited Lisbon the previous year. The pontiff will be there for a reception on Thursday and presides over the Way of the Cross procession on Friday.
The shrine in the rural Portuguese town of Fatima, which is one of the Catholic Church’s most popular pilgrimage destinations, became famous after three local children reported seeing visions of the Virgin Mary above a tree there in 1917.
The sanctuary can hold hundreds of thousands of people.
Francis travels to the town about 120 kilometers (about 70 miles) north of Lisbon by helicopter on Saturday.
PARQUE DO TEJO
The Parque do Tejo is in one of Lisbon’s newest residential areas, which grew out of the 1998 Lisbon World Fair. That event swept aside Lisbon’s rusting eastern industrial area.
Francis will hold a vigil with thousands of young people at the park on Saturday evening and will celebrate Mass at the site on Sunday morning.
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