"Marija Bistrica" Marija Bistrica by Vanity666

Marija Bistrica Travel Guide: 29 reviews and 112 photos


Marija Bistrica is town in central Croatia, located on the slopes of the Medvednica mountain in Hrvatsko Zagorje, not far away from Zagreb. The municipality has 6,612 inhabitants, with 1,107 residents in the town itself (census 2001) and is visited by hundreds of thousands of pilgrims every year.

Marija Bistrica has an old Marian shrine which is a famous place of pilgrimage. On October 3, 1998, Pope John Paul II visited Marija Bistrica and beatified the Croatian Cardinal Aloysius Stepinac.


The first written mention of the settelment Bistrica comes from AD 1209 and documents from 1334 first mention the church of Sts. Peter and Paul. In 1545 a local priest hid the wonder working statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary with the Infant Jesus, which previously stood in a wooden chapel on the Vinski Vrh (Hill) nearby, within the church to save it from the Turks and took the secret of it's hidding place to his grave. The statue was discovered in 1588, when according to the records bright light shone from the place where it was buried. In 1650 the statue had to be once again hidden to be rediscovered in 1684.

In 1710 the Croatian parliament vowed to fund a new altar in the church, which was done in 1715. In 1731 the church was expanded and reconsecrated to Our Lady of Snow. In 1750 Pope Benedict XIV granted plenary indulgence to pilgrims who confess and accept the Eucharist in Bistrica.

In 1879 to 1882 a new church was built in its place, designed in the style of Neo-Renaissance by Hermann Bollé. Arcades were constructed around the church decorated with 22 paintings of the miracles granted by the Blessed Virgin. During the construction a fire destroyed all of the church except the statue and the main altar. In 1923 Pope Pius XI granted the church the status of a minor basilica and in 1935 the archbishop of Zagreb Ante Bauer crowned the statue as Our Lady Queen Of Croatia.

Our Lady of Snow

I was on annual pilgrimage to Marija Bistrica. This is the statue we carried all the way there from home. The carriers change at every checkpoint, of course.

  • Last visit to Marija Bistrica: Aug 2007
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (21)

Comments (5)

  • Marisola's Profile Photo
    Jun 20, 2010 at 8:24 AM

    This procession is interesting. What's the story about the Lady of Snow?

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Dec 21, 2009 at 9:25 AM

    Hello, Marko! I see it's a nice place to visit in Croatia! ><><><

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Aug 3, 2009 at 3:30 PM

    We had a plan to go to Croatia in 2009-but that changed. Thank you for the tour information and good pictures and comments. A loveley country.

  • lorgnierl's Profile Photo
    Aug 14, 2007 at 11:35 AM

    dobro ljublio mariju bistricu i dadam se da vratit cu

  • Sininen's Profile Photo
    Aug 14, 2007 at 9:09 AM

    Hi Marko! Lovely page on Marija Bistrica! Would like to visit it one day.

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