Ave Maria Grotto in Cullman, Alabama

The Ave Maria Grotto in Cullman, Alabama, has been on the National Register of Historic Places for 30 years. Located on the grounds of St. Bernard Abbey, it contains replicas of more than 100 of the world’s famous shrines, holy sites, and houses of worship.

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Brother Joseph Zoettl spent more than two decades building the grotto, from the early 1930’s until the late 1950’s. His achievement attracts visitors from around the world and is one of the most interesting and unique places you could ever visit.

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Bonus Photo!

Brother Joseph also built replicas memorializing St. Bernard’s students — called “St. Bernard Boys”  — who had been killed during war. The photo below shows a replica of a Benedictine monastery in Korea that was destroyed by Communists. The three crosses memorialize the three St. Bernard Boys who were killed in the Korean War.

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