Maria Saal is an imposing abbey church and pilgrimage site. Along with the house of worship in Karnburg, it is one of the earliest churches to be founded in Carinthia, its roots going back to the 8th century when the Salzburg bishopric sent bishop Modestus to minister to the Karantanien. It acquired its late-Gothic form in the early to mid-15th century, when it was rebuilt, along with the surrounding abbey buildings, into a fortress church, later providing the local populace with protection from Turkish incursions. During renovations after a devastating fire in 1669, the church acquired its current appearance. At the same time, the “Maria Saalerin”, which is Carinthia’s biggest church bell, was cast for the north tower and consecrated in 1688.