Pederneira and Sitio were the earliest know settlements in Nazaré. Due to their location, high above the beach they were provided with refuge against, throughout history, the Vikings, French, Engligh and Dutch pirates many of who lasted well into the 19th Century.
In 1182, the first church was built in Sitio. The chapel was originally built to remember another legend of Nazaré. It is said that on a misty September morning, in 1182, the sheriff, Dom Fuas Roupinho, was chasing a deer whilst on horseback. The deer (later believed to be the devil in disguise), jumped off the edge of the cliffs, but the sheriff was riding too fast to stop. He called out to Our Lady to help him in his hour of need, and the horse abruptly stopped, leaving a hoof mark in a rock which can still be seen today. The chapel was later created to keep the statue of Our lady safe, and offer a place for pilgrims to come and give thanks.
In the 14th century, a magnificent church – Sanctuary of Our Lady of Nazaré – was founded, near the place of the chapel, by King Ferdinand, whilst on a pilgrimage to Nazaré. This church has been added to and adapted over the years and now offers a welcoming haven for the pilgrims who travel to see the wooden statue of Our Lady.
The Feast of Nazaré is celebrated on the 8th of September, with the area having a regional holiday on that day.