Known throughout the world as "Jerusalem in Miniature," Ave Maria Grotto is a beautifully landscaped, four-acre park designed to provide a natural setting for the 125 miniature reproductions of some of the most famous historic buildings and shrines of the world. The masterpieces of stone and concrete are the lifetime work of Brother Joseph Zoettl, a Benedictine monk of St. Bernard Abbey, Alabama’s first and only Benedictine Abbey. Begun as a hobby, with various materials he could find, and infinite patience and a remarkable sense of symmetry and proportion, Brother Joseph re-created some of the greatest edifices of all time.
Brother Joseph continued his work for over 40 years, using materials sent from all over the world. Roman Catholic cathedrals and monasteries predominate, including St. Peter's Basilica, the Monte Cassino Abbey and the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, along with scenes from ancient Jerusalem. Also displayed are a number of secular buildings and the occasional pagan temple, including the Alamo Mission in San Antonio, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Spanish missions, German castles and South African shrines. He built his last model, the Basilica in Lourdes, at the age of 80, in 1958.
For more information, visit www.avemariagrotto.com.