On Purberg in Graz you will find one of the most famous pilgrimage sites in Styria. Pilgrims from all over Europe come here to climb the 216 steps to the magnificent Mariatrost basilica in Graz towering into the sky. The steep staircase symbolizes a small pilgrimage. This connecting path from “bottom” to “above” should help pilgrims to connect to God.
The mighty basilica is attributed to the high form of the imperial baroque. Two four-storey facade towers (61 m) and a dome are the widely visible features of the building of this cross-domed church. The basilica is surrounded by the buildings of a former monastery. Not only the Marian Shrine in the heart of the Baroque-style church is a true attraction. Beautiful frescoes and the impressive pulpit complete the picture. The twin-towered church was built in 1714 on behalf of the Pauline Order.
Its centerpiece is a statue of the Virgin whose widely told miracles attracted numerous pilgrims as early as the 17th century. Just like the altar itself. The gray marble for the altar was broken directly on Purberg. The side altars with impressive marble inlays were donated by Styrian aristocratic families. The interior is dominated by frescoes by Lukas von Schram and Johann Baptist Scheidt. In them, Mary is glorified, even as a “helper to victory”. As a scene from the victorious battle of Lepanto against the Turks proves. In 1999 the church was nominated as a basilica minor.
Numerous legends surround the origin of the place of pilgrimage at Mariatrost Basilica Graz
The best known tells that Johann Maximilian von Wilferstorff, who lived in a castle on the Purberg, received a Gothic Madonna not considered precious by the monks for his castle chapel. When Wilferstorff’s daughter fell seriously ill, she prayed for healing in front of the statue of Mary. When the girl recovered the message spread quickly. Mariatrost became an important place of pilgrimage that attracted help and consolation seekers from Hungary and Croatia. Strangely though, Johann Maximilian von Wilferstorff supposedly had no daughter at all…
For more information, please visit the Graz tourism website.