Levoca, Slovakia: The Shrine of Our Lady of Levoca & the Marian Hill
About the Shrine:
The Basilica of Our Lady of Lavoca is the country’s most cherished shrine.
The original shrine was built in the 14th Century in thanksgiving for the fact that the villagers were saved from the invading Tartars by hiding behind Marian Hill.
An annual pilgrimage to the top of the Hill began and continues to this day.
During the Communist era the authorities did everything possible to discourage visitors to the Shrine, especially on the first weekend in July, the Feast of the Visitation. The annual pilgrimage still draws up to 250,000 participants.
The church was declared a Minor Basilica in 1984, by Pope John Paul II, who himself visited the site on July 3, 1995. About 650,000 pilgrims gathered for the occasion.
There is no train service to Levoca, but there are buses from various cities in Slovakia.