Hardly any other pilgrimage site in the world can look back on such an impressive past.
According to records, Mariazell was founded on December 21, 1157. An inscription above the main portal, giving the date 1200, means that we can assume that the building of the Romanesque chapel began at this time. The first documentary evidence of 'Cell' is from the year 1243. A letter of indulgence, dated 1330, from Archbishop Friedrich III of Salzburg, is given as the source for the Church of Our Beloved Lady of Cell as a much visited place of pilgrimage. By 1344 the community had received the rights of a market town.