Aparecida, Aparecida unofficially called the North, is a municipality in Microregion Guaratinguetá, in the Paraíba Valley, in the state of São Paulo, Brazil. Its population in 2004 was 35,754 inhabitants. It has an area of 120.9 km ² and a population density of 294.92 inhabitants per square kilometer. One of the major tourist destinations of the state of São Paulo, Aparecida is proud to host the world´s largest shrine dedicated to Our Lady. The intense movement is not restricted to the holiday of October 12, the day of the patron saint of Brazil, where more than 200,000 pilgrims visit the city to see the image of the saint, found by fishermen in 1717. The hotels in the area are crowded on weekends too common. The postcard is the New Basilica of Our Lady of Aparecida, which opened in 1955 and visited by Pope Benedict 16 in 2007. Built in the shape of a cross, every brick in sight, has a capacity of 45,000 people and is visible from the Via Dutra road that connects São Paulo to Rio Besides the image of Our Lady, the space also houses a sacred art museum, an observatory room of the Promises. Already the Old Basilica, built in 1888, has a baroque style. A walkway of almost 400 meters connecting the two temples and reveals panoramic views of the city and the sanctuary again. In 2003, the region inaugurated the Path of Faith, a journey of 525 miles between Cravinhos and Aparecida, passing through towns between Minas Gerais and São Paulo. By enrolling in the project, the faithful have access to a list of hostels attached a detailed map and a credential that is stamped at each stop official. The route is signposted and through villages, forests, trails and sections of roads. On average, the full itinerary is made in 20 days.
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