Located in north-western Styria, the pilgrimage church of Mariazell goes back to a monk’s cell established by the Benedictine Abbey of St Lamprecht in the twelfth century which evolved into an important site of Marian veneration in Central Europe that centres on a miracle-working late Romanesque statue of the Virgin.
The first chapel was built by Margrave Henry I of Moravia around 1200. In the fourteenth century this was expanded into a Gothic hall church thanks to an endowment from King Louis I. of Hungary. During der Baroque era the Mariazell basilica became the most important site of pilgrimage in the Monarchy and was extended on a large scale thanks to support from the Habsburgs. Regarded as the embodiment of the Magna Mater Austriae (Latin: Great Mother of Austria), the statue of the Virgin together with its church became the national shrine of the Habsburg Monarchy.