There are so many breathtaking old cathedrals all over the world, and they’ve all gotten the attention and honor they deserve. World-famous cathedrals such as St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Italy; The Notre Dame in Paris, France; St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, Russia; and the Basilica de Higuey in the Dominican Republic have been famous tourist destinations for as long as we can remember.
There are still, however, lots of churches and cathedrals that are not as well-known as these wonderful structures, but deserve the same kind of recognition. One of them is the Las Lajas Cathedral—though not as famous and widely-visited as other religious landmarks, visitors (especially for those who love being in front of great ancient architectures) will definitely love it here.
If you’re crossing the Ecuador-Colombia border, it is worth to pass by the Las Lajas Cathedral / Las Lajas Sanctuary (located just outside of town), a great example of Gothic Revival architecture. This architectural treasure could be found in the southern Colombian Department of Narino at the municipality of Ipiales.
The cathedral’s backdrop alone is already worth admiring: waterfalls of about 100 feet, soaring mountains, green in all sides—all of these things envelope the cathedral that has a wonderful legend behind it, possessing a unique legend that illustrates so much about faith and talent. The one obvious detail that sets this apart from the other cathedrals in the world is that it is literally built on a bridge.
It was said that the Virgin Mary appeared on a vertical rock that is situated about 45 metres in a gorge along the Guaitara River. Commemorating this appearance, a church was built on the same spot that many believe she appeared in.
The one of the well-known legends of this place goes like this: In 1754, the Virgin Mary appeared to a deaf-mute girl named Rosa. She and her mother Maria Mueces stopped for a while because they needed rest from all the traveling. Rosa went inside a cave and played there for a little while and returned to her mother saying that she saw the Virgin Mary—“the mestiza is calling me!” she miraculously exclaimed to her mother. At first, Maria Mueces was apprehensive about what she saw, but was amazed that her child could talk. One day, she discovered that Rosa returned to the cave to play with child of the Lady, who was the Divine Infant. She was dumbfounded upon seeing this, and started to visit the cave many times until darkness struck: Rosa started to get really sick, and then eventually died.
source: by by Colombia_Mocoa&Ipiales from picasaweb.google.com
Maria Mueces went to the Lady to help, and her prayers were answered. Rosa was brought back to life, which signalled the beginning of having lots of people being curious about the miracle. Many started going to the cave and saw an image of the Lady with her child. Seemingly imprinted (and not painted, as it appears to be) on the wall, a picture if the Lady and her son made a lot of people believe. Since then, they believed that this Lady is their Queen and protector.
Pilgrims from all over the world have visited the site, and many still continue to make their way to this miraculous place. Being here is not only for those wanting to go on a religious pilgrimage, but for those who love seeing extraordinary structures and great stories as well. The dramatic location, the fascinating legend, the mysterious images, and the extraordinary architecture are sure to make anyone be inspired. A great example of faith, this place will certainly leave all visitors in awe.
source: by ~zukokku from zukokku.deviantart.com