Religious tourism is certainly an important branch of the economy and tourism in general. Many cultural monuments, museum exhibits, or places of great cultural importance are associated with religion. One of the most visited religious monuments of past times in Europe is an architectural beauty - Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, and next to it is the Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona. Whether we are religious or not, places of practicing religion - churches, mosques, and synagogues are something that we often visit when we travel. Marija Bistrica is the largest Marian temple in Croatia, among the most spiritual places in the country, and our topic for today.
Croatia is a country where there are many churches because the general population is predominantly Christian. Many monasteries and convents are located in beautiful landscapes, and the splendid cathedrals adorn the central city squares. One church occupies a special place - with its significance for believers and its architectural beauty. It's Marija Bistrica.
Just 30 minutes from the capital Zagreb, Marija Bistrica is located in the settlement of the same name, in Krapina-Zagorje County. Many paths lead to this special shrine. It is accessible to believers and other tourists by car, bicycle, and pedestrians. You can reach this fascinating place from the west through Zagreb, Varaždin, Krapina, or the east through Koprivnica and Bjelovar. And, don't forget that the Nature Park Medvednica is close.
The most essential artifact and the relic of this temple is the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary with the Child Jesus in Mary Bistrica, and the entire history of this place is centered around this statue. This monument of distinct color and shape is the reason for the arrival of many pilgrims here. They found a specific connection between it and the Virgin Marry, so she is often declared as "the Queen of All Croats". In addition to the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, this temple is also home to a stunning interior and a church to which Pope Pius XI gave the title basilica minor. The inside of this basilica is really impressive.
Near the temple, there are also 4 sculptures or depictions of scenes from the New Testament, specifically a statue of Jesus Christ with a cross on the way to the top of Golgotha.
No matter if you are a believer or not, Marija Bistrica is a small charming place with a nice atmosphere. Of course, I recommend visiting this place to all Christian believers and pilgrims in the first place. Then again, it's perfect for those who are interested in alternative touristic stories and small places that are always in the shadow of the more popular ones. Marija Bistrica is the largest Marian temple in Croatia and a place of peace and good mood. You are always welcome here.
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