The Baroque Mariatrost Basilica is one of the most famous pilgrimage sites of Styria in Austria. The pilgrimage church stands prominently on top of the Purberg hill in the northeast of Graz. It can be reached using the 200 or more steps of the Angelus stair. The basilica is classified as a Baroque building. Two front towers and a dome, visible from a great distance, are the characteristic attributes of the church, which is enclosed by two projecting wings of a former monastery once occupied by the Pauline Fathers (1708–86) and later by the Franciscans (1842–1996).
The building was begun in 1714 by Andreas Stengg and his son Johann Georg Stengg and finished in 1724. The pulpit by Veit Königer (1730/1731) is the masterpiece of the furnishings. The frescoes on the ceiling by Lukas von Schram and Johann Baptist Scheidt are of particular importance.
The main altar includes a statue of the Madonna originally created in the Gothic period around 1465, but altered to the Baroque style in 1695 by Bernhard Echter.References:
The city walls of Avila were built in the 11th century to protect the citizens from the Moors. They have been well maintained throughout the centuries and are now a major tourist attraction as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can walk around about half of the length of the walls.
The layout of the city is an even quadrilateral with a perimeter of 2,516 m. Its walls, which consist in part of stones already used in earlier constructions, have an average thickness of 3 m. Access to the city is afforded by nine gates of different periods; twin 20 m high towers, linked by a semi-circular arch, flank the oldest ones, Puerta de San Vicente and Puerta del Alcázar.