The Vatican might be an ultimate place for all Catholics to pay a visit, but there are dozens of other significant sites and holy shrines worth doing a pilgrimage. After the sanctuaries of Lourdes (France) and Fatima (Portugal), the shrine of Međugorje is Europe’s third most important apparition site and the only one in the Balkans.
Religious tourism has been an important source of inspiration for travellers ever since but recently we have seen an increased interest in pilgrimage. People are attracted to holy places, not only from the historical & cultural point of view but also in a search for spiritual peace. Međugorje is one of those places where you will find a serenity, a hope and a mystical energy.
Only 24 km southwest from Mostar and not far away from the border with Croatia, Međugorje is a small picturesque town whose name stands for the “place between mountains”. Since the first apparition of ‘Our Lady’ in 1981, more than 30 million pilgrims from all over the world have visited this place, located in the southern part of Bosnia & Herzegovina.
A legend says that the Virgin Mary (with a baby Jesus in hands) appeared in front of six children on the hill Podbrdo in summer 1981, and she kept appearing for a couple of days. Since then, this site started attracting Catholic pilgrims from all continents. Many of them were reporting miracles such as unexplainable healing of illnesses or seeing signs in the sky. One thing is sure, those people experienced something extraordinary here.
Numerous seers have been claiming that the Blessed Virgin Mary appears to the present day leaving them messages. Those messages are recorded, translated into many languages and even placed on Youtube. Considering the number of incoming foreign pilgrims, an English language Mess in the Church is performed daily as well.
Travelling to Međugorje is feasible with a group, but also as an individual. Lodging is not an issue, as there is a huge range of options – from village houses to hotels. I would strongly recommend the first option, as it will give you a glimpse of local lifestyles, including delicious homemade food.
In spite of the confusion over this place’s recognition as a holy shrine, millions of Catholics, but also tourist have visited Međugorje in last three decades. So far, Vatican’s authorities haven’t officially confirmed or denied the authenticity of the miracles happening here.
Whether a pilgrim or a curious non-believer, don’t miss the opportunity to visit mysterious Međugorje and to discover the third most important apparitions site in Europe. Just come with an open mind & an open heart, and you might actually return renewed and full of hope.
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