Las Lajas Sanctuary is a basilica church located in the southern Colombian Department of Nariño, municipality of Ipiales and built inside the canyon of the Guaitara River.
The cathedral is of gothic revival architecture and was built from January 1, 1916 to August 20, 1949, with donations from local churchgoers, replacing an old nineteenth-century chapel. The name Laja comes from the name of a type of flat sedimentary rock similar to floor tiles found in the Andes Mountains. There was a claim that in one such stone, an apparition of the Virgin Mary was seen.
The story of the cathedral's creation is that in 1754 an Amerindian named Maria Mueces and her deaf-mute daughter Rosa were caught in a very strong storm. They found refuge between the gigantic Lajas, and to Maria Mueces's surprise, Rosa exclaimed "the mestiza is calling me..." and pointed to the lightning-illuminated painting over the laja. The oldest account was recorded in the accounts of Fray Juan de Santa Gertrudis's voyage through the southern region of the New Kingdom of Granada between 1756 and 1762.
Wednesday, December 01, 2010