|Basilica of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary|
Mariánska hora a hill above Levoca, Slovakia, with spectacular views over the town and countryside, is the location of the Basilica of theVisitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Slovak - Bazilika navštívenia Panny Márie), built between 1906 and 1922. The church contains an ancient statue of the Virgin which is the objective of pilgrimages.
A chapel has existed in this location since at least the 13th century. It is thought that the location was used as a refuge by townsfolk of Levoča during the Tatar invasions of the time; it may also have been attached to a hospital for sufferers from leprosy. The chapel was enlarged and rebuilt many times, including a Baroque church in 1766. However the increasing number of pilgrims visiting the site necessitated a larger structure. Pope John Paul II, at the request of the local bishop, upgraded the church to a Basilica Minor in 1984, and visited the site himself on July 3, 1995, when about 650,000 pilgrims gathered for the occasion. The annual pilgrimage, on or around 2 July (the Feast of the Visitation), still draws a very large number of participants.