5 PLACES IN MEDJUGORJE YOU HAVE TO VISIT
Medjugorje is one of the most famous places in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in fact, the most famous immediately behind Sarajevo, and when it comes to religious tourism, it is not only popular in the state itself, but much, much wider, throughout the Balkans region as well as in Europe. The city attracts around one million believers from all over the world yearly, and gained popularity in 1981 when the first apparition of the Virgin Mary was recorded. She showed up to six children, and after that, there were numerous apparitions of visionaries and everything still lasts today.
As its name suggests, Medjugorje is situated between the two tops, and its altitude is 200 meters and has a mild Mediterranean climate. This compound immediately pleases all those who came to visit this place at least once.
The city has a population of nearly 2,500, and its accelerated development has been due to apparitions and religious tourism. Today, it is one of the most famous Roman Catholic pilgrimage sites around the world, and many say that it is significantly different from other pilgrimage places because of the intimate atmosphere in which faith and peace can be felt.
Namely, even today as well as at the beginnings of religious tourism, believers always start their day at the gathering center in the church of St. Jacob in the very center of the town.
Herzegovina is part of country Bosnia and Herzegovina in which Medjugorje is located, and it is about 25 kilometers away from the economic and cultural center of Herzegovina, Mostar and on the border with the Republic of Croatia.
You are also thinking of visiting Medjugorje? Since it’s always a good idea to make at least a rough plan of the way, here is the list of five important places in the city that should not be missed if you want to experience the true spirit of the city but also what it is known for, namely, faith and apparitions.
Church of St. Jacob
As stated at the beginning, this church is located in the center of Medjugorje and there is always a gathering of believers there. It dominates the center of the city, and from the first apparitions it is constantly refined, so if you have visited the city a few years ago it is certain that something new has been added and upgraded since then in the church. The outer altar was opened in 1989, and since tens of thousands of believers can be found there in one day, especially on the important Catholic holidays, there is a great need to receive so many believers in order to participate in Mass celebrations. For this reason, five thousand seats were built at the church. Particularly interesting is that the old church that was built before this was on a very terrible ground, and the pieces of the walls were torn off and became unsafe for the believers. For this reason, in 1934, a new church was built that is today known as St. Jacob’s Church (and St. Jacob is the patron of Medjugorje and pilgrims) and the works were completed in 1969. Then it seemed that the church was too big for the then number of believers who practiced faith there, but of course, everything changed after the apparitions. Today, this church is the number one place to visit if you are traveling to Medjugorje.
The statue of the Risen Jesus Christ
Just behind the church of St. Jacob, a bronze statue of Risen Jesus Christ was set up, and it is the work of Slovenian artist Andrej Ajdić. The special thing about this statue is that the tears flow from the knees of the statue, that is, the liquid that in its composition is identical to human tears. And this is one of the important places for Medjugorje and numerous believers in peace and prayer are waiting in order to touch the tears. Some make the sign of the cross on their foreheads using damp fingers, while the other collect tears on a tissue and carry them home.
A prayer room is also arranged around the statue for all those who can not go to Križevac.
Medjugorje is known for its hills, and one of the most famous is certainly Križevac. It is located at an altitude of 520 meters and is a place where the first foundation of this great pilgrimage story called Medjugorje in some way occurred. Namely, there were parishioners who had erected an 8.56-meter-high cross made of reinforced concrete in 1934. The following text is also written on it: “Jesus Christ, the redeemer of the human race, in the name of his faith, love and hope, in memory of 1900. anniversary of Jesus’ sacrifice.”
The power of the Jesus Cross was brought from Rome and is also built into this cross, especially for this occasion. The Holy Mass on Križevac is held every first Sunday after the religious holiday of Blessed Virgin Mary in honor of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. The visionaries also heard the message of the Virgin Mary: “And the cross was in the plan of God when you built it.” And when the apparitions began, the prayers started there, making Way of the Cross. Initially, there were wooden signs, and later bronze reliefs were placed on the path, which is the work of Professor Carmel Puzzola.
The Apparition Hill or Podbrdo
This is where Gospa first appeared in the area of Medjugorje. The place is located a few hundred meters above the hamlet of Podbrdo and that is exactly where the names of the Apparitions Hill or Podbrdo. From the houses in that hamlet leads the steep path to the very place of the apparition, and there are placed bronze reliefs of sorrowful and joyful royal mysteries, the work of Professor Carmel Puzzola. Also on that steep path is a wooden cross which marks the place where Our Lady appeared the third day in a row and called for peace through Marija Pavlović. Furthermore, there is also a path linking the Hill of Apparitions with the Blue Cross so that all of this can be visited together (prepare for a lot of walking on the rocky terrain and be sure to obey it!). The blue cross is actually at the foot of the Apparition Hill and is a convenient place for all pilgrims who are unable to walk and climb hard on the ground. For many pilgrims, a meeting with this Hill is a personal encounter with the Lord in prayer and faith.
This cross was set up in 1985 and the place
is important for all those who, because of their weaker physical possibilities,
cannot go on a trip to Podbrdo or go to Križevac. The place where the Blue
Cross was raised is a regular encounter place of the prayer group and Ivan
Dragičević (he had apparitions in this place in the first years). Also, it is
interesting to note that at the very short distance of the Blue Cross, another identical cross was erected and
decorated in the same way, with the Lady’s statue under the cross. This was
done because the original place where Ivan Dragičević experienced the visions
is quite crowded and cannot accommodate many interested believers, so the same
ambiance was created in a more spacious place. Also, many pilgrims believe that
at the site of the Blue Cross came the first Lady’s Appearance, but that is not
Apart from these important places, Medjugorje offers so much more. We believe that after one visit you will come here again and again because Medjugorje and Herzegovina conquer the heart and capture it forever!
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