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Bistrica region

Gentleness, and the message of hope that emanates the statue of Mother of God in Bistrica (majka Božja bistrička) in the local, and for all the Croats and for many Christians, cult church-small basilica, are harmoniously woven into the Zagorje hills, decorated with grape vines and fruit trees, green meadows and dense groves. Our Lady attracts crowds of people of various strata who, for centuries, keep coming on pilgrimage: from the poor, the humble and the oppressed, believers who worship her and pray for her intercession, to the pilgrims who turn to the Mother of God in Bistrica seeking for strength in faith, for their homeland. Marija Bistrica has become the biggest sanctuary in Croatia, in which thousands of pilgrims come from spring to late fall each year, over the past more than three centuries. In 1998 Pope John Paul II. visited this national sanctuary, where, at that very place, was beatified martyr the Archbishop of Zagreb - Cardinal Aloysius Stepinac. The miraculous statue of Our Lady, with baby Jesus in her arms, black because it got burned in the fire that engulfed the Basilica in 1880. Today, ornated with gilded crowns, seems as if Our Lady is telling us - be strong in life and have strong belief because I have neglected none of you, and I am constantly here with you. The people had long ago called her the Queen of the Croats. The believers preserved her from unwanted tyrants hiding her in the ground, and then she re-appeared to witness and to affirm hope and faith. Bistrica as a settlement was first mentioned in the year 1209 in the Charter of the Croatian-Hungarian King Andrew II., being named after the creek that runs that way. Today Marija Bistrica has more than a thousand residents who are engaged in various service sectors, production and in particular agricultural production, developing tourism and catering facilities. Known for its gingerbread, honey products and wood and clay products. Old crafts associated with entrepreneurial initiative seem to once again give life to this really picturesque area. Above the town, as strings of pearls on a garland, strung are the hills of romantic and at the same time collous area of Croatian Zagorje, from which you can hear echoe of songs of workers and feel the pride of ancient Puntar Revolts. Feasts and fairs, the thunder of mortars, folk beliefs and traditions, all connected in a whirl of Bistrica region’s life spirit. On these hills special value have, of course, vine stocks with picturesque huts (kleti) among which you can find those of our family MICAK. Woven into the environment and the beauty of the Marija Bistrica landscape even vine seem to be saying that everything here has been prepared for each person, tourist and visitor, pilgrim, entrepreneur, etc. Friendly hosts, quiet and hard-working artisans and other producers, restaurateurs, additionally enrich the whole picture.