The Shrine of the Mother of God of Bistrica

  Trg pape Ivana Pavla II. 32, Marija Bistrica     more than a year ago
The largest and most important Marian shrine in Croatia is in the town of Marija Bistrica in the region of Zagorje, some 40km north of Zagreb. The shrine has a long history. The town of Bistrica first appears in the records in 1209, and its Parish Church of St Peter and St Paul was first mentioned in 1334. In 1715, during the time of the plague, a votive alter was built in the church, and in 1731 the church was extended and dedicated to St Mary of the Snows. Today’s stunning Parish Church in Marija Bistrica was built in between 1879 and 1882. It was partly built on the foundations of the old church and the additions were in the neo-renaissance style. A fire broke out while construction was underway on the eve of the Feast of the Assumption of Mary, and the church interior was destroyed apart from the high altar and the miraculous statue of the Mother of God that is kept there. A new altar was consecrated in 1883.
Alongside the shrine is a calvary and 15 Stages of the Cross. The calvary was created by well-known Croatian artists. The first four Stages were built in 1941, and the remaining 11 in the 1970s and 1980s. The complex was completed in 1990.
A great number of pilgrims from Croatia and abroad visit Marija Bistrica every year, and you’ll find market stalls on the impressive town square in front of the shrine where you can buy souvenirs of the statue of Our Lady, of the shrine and of Marija Bistrica. You’ll see the familiar red gingerbread hearts, the making of which is a traditional handcraft in this part of Croatia, and handmade wooden toys which are listed by UNESCO as a part of world cultural heritage.
Pope John Paul II visited Marija Bistrica on 3 October 1998. A list of dates of pilgrimages is published (in Croatian only) on


Basilica Open 07:00 - 19:00.


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