- the greatest pilgrimage
Between green meadows and dark forests on an attitude of about 1520, you can find the pilgrimage Maria Weißenstein, surrounded by a marvellous mountain world: Weißhorn, Latemar, Rosengarten, Schlern, Alpine mountain massive, Mendelgebirge, Ortlergruppe und Brentagruppe.
The history of the place starts in 1553 with the finding of a mercy statue, a Pietà of alabaster, found by the farmer Leonhard of Weißenstein. In 1638 the building of the church started. The consecration took place in 1673 and the church building finished in 1722. The place which initially was a confession place, and was only from time to time, looked after by a priest, was taken over by the order of the Serviten from Innsbruck. In 1787, Emperor Kaiser Josef II gave the order to close the pilgrimage. The mercy statue was moved to Leifers and the order of the Servites had to leave the place and possessions and treasures were sold, from now on the place was used as a barn and wood stock. In 1836, the order of the Servites of Innsbruck, bought it back, they respected the wish of the pilgrimages and used the place from now on again as pilgrimage, a place to pray and to find peace and quietness.
During the fascism, the German priests were substituted by Italian priests, and the pilgrimage was from now on under the order of Servites of Vicenza till now.
At the inside of the church, you can find a marvellous baroque altar with a copy of the in 1985 mercy statue and at the back side the finding chapel. The paintings are from Adam v. Mölk from Vienna, the one of the chapel from Alfons Siber. The most important event in the history of this church is the elevation to a basilica minor as well as the visit of Pope Johannes Paul II on 17th July 1988.In 2000 a new restaurant, youth hostel and a modern pilgrimage house were built. Till now in our modern times, Weißenstein is a well visited pilgrimage, starting from Aldein, Petersberg, Deutschnofen and Leifers.A pilgrimage can be combined with a hiking tour to the alpine pastures nearby, Schönrast Schmiederalm und Petersbergerleger Alm.