Croatia - Pilgrimages
Every year more than 300 million pilgrims across the world move towards a number of shrines and the most famous ones like Lourdes or Fatima attract 5 to 8 million pilgrims a year. Croatia also has something to offer in the segment of religious tourism. One of the most famous Croatian shrines is located in Marija Bistrica, and is visited by about 800 000 pilgrims a year. This beautiful and tame place in Zagorje has been a pilgrimage for 314 years. One of the motives for coming to Marija Bistrica is a wooden statue of Our Lady to which miraculous power are attributed. The church documents state that 1109 miraculous events which were recognized only later, after careful research were recorded between 1688 and 1786. Furthermore,each of the 15 Stations of the Cross of the impressive Bistrička Calvary, is a valuable work of art.

Marija Bistrica - which recently opened a landmark hotel "Kaj", as a part of Bluesun group – has a marked 8 km long cycle trail and a 15 km long pedestrian detour "for body and soul" as well as the Sculpture Park, a result of perennial colonies of wood carvers.

The Shrine of St. Joseph on Dubovac has been in the Karlovac area since 1987. The most important pilgrimage is on the 19th March, St. Joseph's day. Another well known traditional pilgrimage is on the Feast of the Assumption to the Church of St. Mary of the Snow in Kamensko, 4 km from Karlovac.

Ludbreski shrine of the Precious Blood of Jesus reveals the legend that attracts visitors even today. According to tradition, in 1411, after uttering the words of transformation, a priest, noticed blood in the chalice. It is still kept in a special reliquary in the parish church and the main pilgrimage is the first Sunday in September.

Feast of Our Lady of Sinj has been celebrated since 1715, when 700 people of Cetina Region fled from the Turkish invaders carrying a picture of the Virgin Mary. The tradition says they took refuge in the city- fortress above the present town of Sinj, and when they were about to be captured, a white lady-like figure lit by a bright light appeared before the Turks after which they run away.

The sailors and pilgrims visit the Marian shrine of Our Lady of Trsat. 561 steps leads to the shrine, and what Marija Bistrica and Sinj in their areas, Trsat is to Kvarner and the surrounding area. Furthermore, the residents of Hrvatsko Primorje (Senj and its surroundings) and Lika make a traditional pilgrimage on the Feast of the Assumption to the shrine at Krasno.

In October of 1998 Pope John Paul II visited the Solin shrine where the first church was built in the 10th century, and for the Little Lady, and on 8th September, many pilgrims visit the shrine Vepric in Makarska, devoted to the birth of the Virgin Mary.

Croatian National Tourist Board

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