Mariazell is a well-known pilgrimage site since 1157. In that year a monk arrived here with a wooden statue of Mary and decided to found a chapel. Hence the name of the town derives from said statue of Mary, which stood first in his cell and later in the chapel. Nowadays the basilica is still the main focus point of Mariazell, but there is also skiing in the area, and let’s not forget the many gingerbread manufacturers. The basilica though is the first building you see, when making your way into town.
We had arrived in beautiful weather on a Friday and, after checking in at Scherfler’s Hotel Goldenes Kreuz (the hotel was excellent btw), walked the couple of meters to the main square. The basilica is right at the main square with many coffee houses and restaurants around. We whiled away the afternoon by coffee and cake, since we missed the last Gingerbread tour at Pirker’s.
Gingerbread and devotional objects go hand in hand in Mariazell and are practically sold everywhere. The Basilica is surrounded by little stalls for all the pilgrims to find a little something for home.
We started our Saturday with grey skies and a guided tour of the town. During the summer months the Heimathaus (local museum of Mariazell) offers guided tours of basilica, the Heimathaus, and the history of the town. Maybe it was the weather but on that Saturday morning my family was the only one in attendance. Kind of neat to get a private guided tour.
Most houses in the center looked newly renovated and were just beautiful. In the afternoon I walked around on my own before enjoying the spa area of our hotel.
The weather was still not improving the clouds were hanging low.
Unfortunately the next morning, already our last day, the weather hadn’t improved much. Since we had basically seen all there was to see in Mariazell, we decided to drive to the Hubertus Lake and the Bruder Klaus Kirche, which is a filial church to the Basilica of Mariazell. The Bruder Klaus church is a modern building with large colorful windows. Too bad that in this weather the effect inside was minimal.
We left the car and strolled along the lake to the Wuchtl-Wirtin. This tavern is a favorite stop on excursions and also for us, after a short stroll a welcome stop. I ordered one of the large yeast dumplings with custard and shared it with my brother. This was really a big portion.
We left Mariazell with one last look back. Too bad the weather didn’t comply with our wishes. But the basilica and the surrounding area was definitely an agreeable weekend trip. Yours, Pollybert