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Las Lajas Cathedral

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


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  • Nina

    February 2, 2012

    This church is beautiful. Just because of online pics i wanted to see it for myself on the trip to Colombia even though the location was quite offbeat. I dont regret a bit:)

  • Ana

    May 4, 2009

    I was there when I was 12 years old or so… I remember the stairs… tons of them! they seemed eternal… but even at that age, once we arrived to the cathedral I was pleasantly surprised, all those stairs were worth it!! it is so beautiful! I hope I can go back soon and take my family, that way they can see what a beautiful place I come from. Las Lajas is only a sample of all the wonderful things found in Colombia.

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