From the beginning, St. Wolfgang has been the backdrop of great miracles. In the Middle Ages, 80,000 pilgrims came here every year; a tremendous number considering the limited mobility of that time. St. Wolfgang was consequently, along with Rome, Santiago, Aachen and Einsiedeln aprominent pilgrimage destination in the Christian West.
At best, one person for every thousand that sets foot in this place nowadays is a pilgrim. The lofty vestiges of that golden age, like the impressive Pfarrkirche (parish church) of St. Wolfgang with its winged altar from Michael Pacher, still today call for admiration.
The Josephinist reforms brought an end to pilgrimages, yet St. Wolfgang experienced a revival due to the imperial summer retreat in nearby Ischl. The once holy site became a beloved trip destination, and Ralph Benatzkys operetta "Im Weißen Rössl am Wolfgangsee" has attracted pilgrims of a different kind to St. Wolfgang since the 20th century.
The Wolfgangseer Advent has written a more recent success story. Just a few years after its founding, it's considered one of the most famous and stylish of its kind.
© Brigitte Leithner