Visiting Maria Wörth on the Wörthersee
Located just 30 minutes from Villach is the scenic church complex of Maria Wörth on the beautiful Wörthersee. With church properties that date back to 875, Maria Wörth is a popular pilgrimage destination and a top tourist sight during the summers in Carinthia. Due to its panoramic location on the Wörthersee, the church complex is a nice area to explore any time of year. The church complex consists of two churches – the larger St. Mary’s parish church that dates back to 875 and the smaller winter church that was built in 1150. The parish church has gone through many changes since it was originally established and it was rebuilt in 1155. One of the things that interested me about visiting Maria Wörth is that it was originally an island in the Wörthersee. In 1770, they decided to connect the island to the mainland so it is now a peninsula. The smaller winter church is called a winter church because the anniversaries of its saints all fall in winter. There are some old murals in the church from the 12th century and nice stained glass windows. I was lucky enough to enjoy my entire visit to Maria Wörth without any other visitors. The winter church was incredibly peaceful.
The larger parish church is truly the star of a visit to Maria Wörth. The church has many beautiful artworks including religious frescoes, an ornate high altar, and a Baroque pulpit. The buttresses and high ceilings make the whole church feel graceful and light. Underneath the altar, there is a crypt that is open to the public with 15th-century frescoes. The church complex also has a peaceful cemetery with lots of elegant crosses.The cemetery includes a charnel house that is now used for storage. In the past, a charnel house was used to store human remains since burial plots were scarce.The Maria Wörth church complex was definitely “Wörth” the visit – haha, I make great jokes! I highly recommend walking around this historic area especially on a sunny day.
Visiting Maria Wörth
- Open year round
- Paid parking available on the peninsula
- Peak season is during the summer
- Church website: http://www.kath-kirche-kaernten.at/pfarren/pfarre/C3061