The Virgin Mary is said to have first appeared to six Catholic Croat children on June 24, 1981. In the days that followed, apparitions continued to appear to those who flocked to see the site. The word about this supposed miracle spread quickly, and Medjugorje become an important Catholic pilgrimage site. Supernatural phenomena here have been reported by a number of pilgrims.
The shrine in Medjugorje remains unrecognized to this day by the Catholic Church. The authorities in the Vatican have stated that they are unable to ether confirm or deny the authenticity of the miracles here. As of March 2010, however, the Vatican announced that it will begin a formal investigation.
Incidentally, the site was the scene of one of numerous massacres of local Orthodox minorities by the hands of Fascist Croat forces during the Second World War.
Medjugorje continues to attract pilgrims from a great number of countries. A whole tourist industry has sprung up around the shrine, organizing travel and catering to the pilgrims. It’s estimated that over thirty million tourists have visited Medjugorje so far. Aside from native Croat visitors, most of pilgrims come from neighboring Italy.