The symbolism of the door knocker "Hand of Fatima"

A proposal of sensory tourist experiences in the city of Lagos


  • Bender, A. C. Faculty of Economics, University of Algarve, Faro.
  • Rosa, M. P. Research Center for Tourism, Sustainability and Well-being & Institute of Engineering, University of Algarve, Faro.
  • Lopes, A. Institute of Engineering Institute, University of Algarve, Faro.
  • Flores, A. Research Centre for Tourism, Sustainability and Well-being, University of Algarve, Faro.tugal



The advantages of applying a multi-sensorial approach to the experimentation of objects, historical sites and heritage practices have been widely discussed and applied, especially in the sphere of the sensory tourist experience. Expanding opportunities to understand the past through a broader sensorium is fundamental to awakening interest, encouraging tourists/visitors to use the five senses to explore the surrounding environment, facilitating the creation of memorable experiences and contributing to inclusive tourism. The vernacular architecture, as a cultural heritage of symbolic value and belonging to the imaginary of collective memory, is an important vector of the aesthetic values of urban landscapes. Therefore, there is a need to stimulate synergies between tourism and heritage to develop tourism products that help in the valorization and preservation of vernacular architecture in historical territories/centres. The "Hand of Fatima", the door knocker shaped as a closed-hand, is one of these decorative elements and part of the collective cultural heritage, which, more than achieving a utilitarian function, has a symbolic and even superstitious role, for being considered by many as talismans of protection. This research investigates the perceived sensorial experiences in the city of Lagos, located in the Algarve region, south of Portugal, and the specific sensitive element of door knockers known as the "Hand of Fatima" at the historic centre of this city. Many of these objects are true works of art that allow inclusive sensory experiences for many people. Therefore, a qualitative and exploratory approach was adopted, and a Geographic Information System was used to compile and analyze the data. The research concludes that there are diverse sensory experiences. Concerning hand doors knockers, there is a great concentration in this urban area, which enable multiple sensory experiences, contributing to the understanding of the historic centre of Lagos as a living museum.


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How to Cite

Ana Carolina, . B., Pires Rosa, M., Lopes, A. ., & Flores, A. (2021). The symbolism of the door knocker "Hand of Fatima" : A proposal of sensory tourist experiences in the city of Lagos. Journal of Accessibility and Design for All, 11(2), 232–258.