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The Bergkirche in Eisnestadt, Tyrol, began as a massive project. The local Esterhazy family was determined to make the church impressive. The overall intent was to create one of the region’s biggest pilgrimage churches. The intent fell flat in terms of size. Only the presbytery reached completion by 1722.

The Bergkirche is a squat, compact Baroque structure. It sits atop of a hill, the position dictated by Prince Paul Esterházy. The building, often called the Haydn Kirche, is actually dedicated to the Visitation of the Virgin Mary. Its interior features a rather magnificent artistic and architectural deception called “trompe l’oeil.” The mural executed in this fashion achieves a remarkable sense of three-dimension reality. Yet, what continually draws visitors to this church is not the building. There are two reasons: one is the Ways of the Cross display featuring life-sized figures; the other is the presence of Haydn’s Mausoleum on the grounds.

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