Las Lajas Cathedral
With the fragrance of the incense of Holy Week still lingering in the air, we present one of the most unlikely and dramatic locales for a cathedral we've ever seen, Santuario de Las Lajas in Colombia. Rugged, awesome and daring, Las Lajas inspires the devout and infidels alike.
Las Lajas, the name of a type of rock commonly found in the Andes, was built in a gorge along the Guaitara River between 1916 and 1949. An example of Gothic Revival architecture, the cathedral is memorably framed by stark mountains and 100 feet waterfalls. As local legend goes Las Lajas was constructed on a spot where the Virgin Mary appeared on the rocks to a deaf-mute child in a cave in 1754.
According to the same legend, the girl and her mother were resting while traveling along the river. The child wandered into a cave while playing, and upon return miraculously exclaimed to her mother that she had seen the Virgin. Slowly the word spread of the supposed miracle, and the site began to attract the curious.
Well-known within Colombia, Las Lajas' relative obscurity internationally is mostly due to its location. Situated near Ipiales– whose culinary specialty is “cuy” or guinea pig, in Nariño, a province deep in the Colombian South, few international tourists make the pilgrimage to the area's primary attraction. Those that do usually do so while passing through on their way to and from nearby
Images courtesy of iStock Photo.