Mariazell is a small city in Austria, in Styria, well known for winter sports, 143 kilometres (89 miles) N. of Graz. It is picturesquely situated in the valley of the Salza, amid the north Styrian Alps.
It is a site of pilgrimage for Catholics from Austria and neighboring countries. The object of veneration is an image of the Virgin Mary reputed to work miracles, carved in lime-tree wood. This was brought to the place in 1157, and is now enshrined in a chapel adorned with objects of silver and other costly materials. The large church of which the chapel forms part was erected in 1644 as an expansion of a smaller church built by Louis I, King of Hungary, after a victory over the Turks in 1363.
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