Just 37km (23 miles) from Zagreb, the little town is a draw for pilgrims on religious tours as well as others who want to see the shrine where a "miraculous" 15th-century statue of the Virgin Mary sits on the main altar of the 19th-century Herman Bollé Pilgrimage Church of St. Mary off the town center. According to legend, the statue was hidden behind a brick wall in the 17th century to protect it from desecration. It stayed that way until its whereabouts were revealed by a ray of light. The statue survived a fire in the late 19th century, which enhanced its reputed connection with the supernatural. The church itself is less interesting inside than out because of the huge outdoor "altar" and open-air auditorium behind the building. The expansive outdoor facility was built to accommodate John Paul II's visit to Marija Bistrica in 1998, when he beatified favorite son Archbishop Alojzije Stepinac. There is also a Way of the Cross on Calvary Hill behind the auditorium, which pilgrims sometimes climb on their knees to do penance. The town itself is quite mundane, but there are several good pizzerias and konobas if you arrive at mealtime.