Wallfahrtskirche Maria Plain - Pilgrimage Church Maria Plain
Maria Plain, which is located to the north-east of Salzburg City, has been a beloved pilgrimage destination since the 17th century. The famous pilgrimage church, the Mount Calvary and the verdant nature all around never fail to captivate visitors, hikers and pilgrims.
The story of Maria Plain goes back to the times of the Thirty Years War. In 1652, the purportedly miraculous painting "Mary with Baby Jesus" by Rudolf von Grimming came to the Plainberg outside Salzburg, where it was kept in a wooden chapel. After barely a year, the original painting had to be returned. However, because of the constant influx of pilgrims, a copy of the picture was made and housed in a new chapel. In 1671, Archbishop Max Gandolf decided to construct a large pilgrimage church. Built according to the plans drawn up by Giovanni Antonio Dario, the church was consecrated on 12 August 1674. Two years later, they were also successful in bringing the original painting back to Salzburg.
Architecture and Interior
The three-story façade with two towers was modeled after Salzburg Cathedral, even though it is very much in keeping with the character of a pilgrimage church you might encounter out in the country. The church of Maria Plain on the Plainberg is visible from far away. The church’s interior is filled with a golden aura, underscored by tones of blue and white. Maria Plain’s famous painting is the focal point of the high altar itself.
Maria Plain and the Mountain Cavalry
The Mountain Calvary on the southern slope of the Plainberg was built in the 17th century. One of only two in all of Salzburg province, it consists of four chapels leading to a crucifixion group.
Mozart and Maria Plain
Due to their sense of profound piety, the pilgrimage church of Maria Plain was very close to the Mozart family. This was also the reason why Mozart enthusiast Johann Evangelist Engl assumed that Mozart composed his work, the “Coronation Mass”, for a festival to crown the famous painting at Maria Plain in 1779. To this day, an annual performance of the work does honor both to the painting as well as Mozart’s genius.
Maria Plain today
Maria Plain is an attractive destination for pilgrims, with their climb to the top of the Plainberg rewarded by magnificent panoramic views of Salzburg City and the surrounding mountains. Pilgrims and trekkers exploring the Austrian stages of the Way of Saint James as well as the Arnoweg likewise pass by Maria Plain. This pilgrimage destination also provides one of the most beautiful wedding settings in Salzburg.