Pilgrimages in Austria:
Hiking with a Purpose - Part II
4.) Frankenweg or Via Francigena
The Via Francigena connects Canterbury and Rome; this ancient route is a millennium old and in some parts, it runs through Austria. The total length of the route is 1,900 kilometres, the Austrian bit is a lot shorter: Essentially, it connects Vienna with Rome.
5.) Routes to Mariazell
Mariazell is home to the "Magna Mater Austriae" and the most important centre of pilgrim-ish attention not only in Austria, but all of the former Habsburg-lands. Thus, as one can easily imagine, an entire network of pilgrim′s roads run to Mariazell, which gets denser the closer you get to your aim.
As a rule of the thumb, the most important routes start at the provincial capitals Linz, Eisenstadt, Klagenfurt, Graz and Vienna. They connect the provinces of Vienna, Lower Austria, Upper Austria, the Burgenland and Carinthia with the Styrian Mariazell. This already reflects that Mariazell has its key clientele in eastern Austria.
6.) Connecting Monastieres: Göttweig to Melk
Another example of a recently revived ancient route is the one between the monasteries Göttweig and Melk. It was only "formalised" and opened in 2004 and connects two of Austria′s most elaborate and splendour-laden monasteries. Crossing the picturesque landscape of the Wachau, pilgrims that hike the 44 kilometre long route will learn that this, too, is one of the many parts of the route to Santiago de Compostela.
The combination of landscape, cultural and architectural delights, the well-developed tourism infrastructure and the importance of Melk as a religious centre for Austria make this two-day pilgrimage particularly attractive.
7.) Carinthia: Visiting St Hemma
St Hemma was a medieval countess in Gurk in Carinthia, that was sanctified only in the 20th century. The adoration for her is much older, though. For centuries, people particularly from Styria, Slovenia and Carinthia attend pilgrimages to Gurk. Located on the southern edge of the Alps, the routes of the Hemma Pilgerweg cross one of Austria′s most scenic areas.
8.) "Donau-Alpe-Adria": A Pilgrimage by Bike
For those who enjoy cycling and would like to combine it with a religious experience, the Donau-Alpe-Adria route ("Danube-Alp-Adriatic") will be ideal. It connects a long line of traditional centres of Mary worship: Passau in Bavaria, Großgmain near Salzburg, Altenmarkt and Mariapfarr in the alpine areas of southern Salzburg, Maria Gail in Carinthia and finally Italy′s oldest pilgrimage sites, Barbana near Grado.
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