Mariazell is a small city in Austria, in Styria, well known for winter sports, 143 km N. of Graz. It is picturesquely situated in the valley of the Salza, amid the north Styrian Alps.
It is the most important pilgrimage site in Austria and also has great meaning for Catholics in the neighboring countries to its east. The object of veneration is a miracle-working image of the Virgin, carved in lime-tree wood. This was brought to the place in 1157, and is now enshrined in a chapel lavishly 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. In the vicinity of Mariazell is the pretty Alpine lake of Erlaufsee