Mariazell, the heart of Europe
Between wonderful landscapes, surrounded by the peaks of the Alps lays Mariazell, in a calm little valley, as the jewelry box of Styria.
Mariazell is only 350 kms away from Budapest and 135 kms away from Vienna. This is the most important pilgrimage place of Austria and Central Europe. More than 1 million people visit here annually.
The little town with its unique atmosphere is also perfect for family holidays, relaxations.
Mariazell testvérvárosai: Fatima (Portugália), Lourdes (Franciaország), Loreto (Olaszország), Czestochowa (Lengyelország), Altötting (Németország), Esztergom (Magyarország)
The History and legend of Mariazell
On the evening of December 21, 1157, a Benedictine monk named Magnus was in a forest looking for a place to build a monastery. At one point, his path became blocked by a huge boulder that was too big to go over or around, so Magnus took a small wooden statue of the Virgin Mary he had in his knapsack, knelt in prayer, and asked the Virgin Mary for guidance.
Soon there was a great rumble and the rock split in two, allowing him to pass through. Magnus placed the statue reverently on a white branch and soon after, he and some of the local people built a small chapel to house the statue. Word of the miraculous statue of the Virgin quickly spread across the countryside, and the chapel had to be periodically expanded to accommodate the growing crowds.
In 1200, the chapel was enlarged to a church and in 1335, Henry I expanded the church after experiencing a miraculous cure. Still more pilgrims began to visit after about 1330, when a Zellfahrt ("Zell journey") was introduced as a form of atonement for criminals.
In 1363, Louis I of Hungary replaced the church with an even larger one in thanksgiving for a victory. This Gothic church had a 90-meter-high spire with an ogive portal. In 1377, Louis I added the Chapel of Grace (Gnadenkappelle).
The pilgrimage church - Basilica
The Mariazell Basilica is the most important pilgrimage destination in Austria and one of the most important in Europe. In the church, a miraculous wooden image of the Virgin Mary is honored.
Chapel of the Holy Spring
Close to the Basilica is the Holy spring chapel. According to the legend it miraculously heals the eye problems.
Mariazell ginger bread and bitters
The Mariazell bitters and ginger bread are real sightseeing attractions. Both of their productions reaches back centuries ago, since even back then they took the catering of pilgrims seriously. Gingerbread is quite delicious, nutritious, healthy, and on long journeys it keeps its freshness for a long time. In Mariazell Family Pirker started ginger bread baking business 300 years ago, and the Arzberg liquor manufacturers started theirs in 1883. They use the same secret recipe that contains 33 different kinds of herbs.