A pilgrimage to Maria Kirchental
Many ways lead to God – one of them over the mountains
Pilgrimage is in the nature of us humans.Pack your rucksack, put on sturdy shoes and off you go – set off and be on the way. Leave everyday life and its baggage by the wayside; concentrate on the present and the future and come closer to solving your own questions step by step. One of the most beautiful pilgrimage trails in the Alps leads through the Salzburger Saalachtal. On the way you come to picturesque Maria Kirchental, to the “Pinzgauer Cathedral” and the “Haus der Besinnung” (the House of Reflection), a particularly special place of power.
Pilgrimage Trails in the Salzburger Saalachtal
There are many pilgrimage trails in the Salzburger Saalachtal. One of these is the well-known Way of St. James. With its destination in faraway Santiago de Compestela in Spain, the “Camino” runs along the Saalach via Unken to Lofer and then on into Tyrol. Other pilgrimage routes are the so-called “Marienwege” and the “Pinzgauer Marienwege”. Here there are several possibilities for making a detour to Maria Kirchental.
Magical Maria Kirchental
If you would like to spend a couple of extra hours in the Salzburger Saalachtal to get to know the region better, then you must pay a visit to Maria Kirchental, the pilgrimage place at 880 metres.
Alongside Maria Plain just outside the city of Salzburg, this high valley is certainly one of the most-visited pilgrimage churches in the province of Salzburg. Pilgrims have been coming here from Tyrol, Salzburg and even Bavaria for over 300 years to visit the “mountain crystal among pilgrimage churches”, as the former Bishop Eder so aptly described this place. This Baroque jewel was designed by the legendary Johannes Bernhard Fischer von Erlach and was consecrated in 1701. The double-towered, two-storey east facade and the expanse of the interior space are particularly impressive. The church has one of the best-known and most significant collections of votive images in Austria.
Situated right next to the church, the pilgrim-friendly Kirchentalwirt offers refreshments and accommodation for tired hikers. The landlords pay particular attention to maintaining and living a down-to-earth inn culture.
Peaceful Hours in the “Haus der Besinnung“
Maria Kirchental is one of the healing spaces of the archdiocese of Salzburg, along with eight other places. The Herz-Jesu-Missionare (Sacred Heart Missionaries), along with the Missionarinnen Christi (Missionaries of Christ) chose this particular place of power to run their House of Reflection. They say, “Discovering the uniqueness of each person and giving them space is of great concern to us, as well as the ever new search for a modern spirituality and a sustainable lifestyle.“ At the moment three sisters and two priests live permanently in the high valley, take care of the spiritual welfare of the pilgrims and provide spiritual guidance in the form of days of reflection, retreats, bible weeks and meditations.