Top choice in Styria

Mariazell's basilica, a pilgrimage church, is famed for its small but exquisite chapel, known as the Gnadenkapelle (Chapel of Grace). This gold and silver edifice houses the Romanesque statue of the Madonna, whose healing powers reputedly helped King Louis of Hungary defeat the Turks in 1377. Except for two days each year, she's dressed up rather doll-like in her Liebfrauenkleid (dress of Our Lady). The interesting Schatzkammer in the upper galleries contains votive offerings spanning six centuries, especially naive-style paintings.

Originally Romanesque, the basilica underwent a Gothic conversion in the 14th century, followed by a massive baroque facelift in the 17th century. The result is a strange clash of styles, with the original Gothic steeple bursting like a wayward skeletal limb from between two baroque onion domes. Inside, Gothic ribbing combines with baroque frescoes and lavish stuccowork. Both Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach and his son Josef Emmanuel had a hand in the baroque interior features; the crucifixion group sculpture (1715) on the high altar is by Lorenzo Mattielli.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Styria attractions

1. Schatzkammer

0.02 MILES

In the upper galleries of the Basilika, the Schatzkammer contains votive offerings spanning six centuries, especially naive-style paintings.

3. Cistercian Monastery

21.07 MILES

This abbey, founded in 1202, survived the Turkish invasions of 1683 but after a disastrous fire was largely rebuilt in 1810. It's an impressively vast…

4. Schloss Landskron

24.98 MILES

Several paths wind up to this castle, where local nobility held court until fire ravaged it along with the rest of the town in 1792. The population helped…

5. Pfarrkirche

25.12 MILES

This 15th-century Gothic church is on the way up to the castle ruins.

6. Koloman-Wallisch-Platz

25.18 MILES

The town square, host to a food and flower market on Wednesday and Saturday, is graced by the Rathaus, with an attractive arcaded courtyard;…

7. Erzberg

25.41 MILES

Eisenerz' main attraction is its Erzberg ironworks, which can be seen up close on underground Schaubergwerk tours of the mine, abandoned in 1986, or…

8. Wehrkirche St Oswald

25.65 MILES

More a fortress than a Gothic church, this soaring bastion gained its heavy walls in 1532 as protection against the Turks.