Las Lajas Cathedral, Columbia

Las Lajas Cathedral

Las Lajas Cathedral or Las Lajas Sancuary (El Santuario de Las Lajas or Cathedral de Las Lajas in Spanish) is a remarkable and an impressive cathedral built over a river gorge inside the canyon of the Guaitara River from January 1, 1916 to August 20, 1944. This cathedral is a neo-gothic sanctuary which is located in the southern Columbian Department of NariƱo near Ipiales (close to Columbia’s border with Ecuador) and it is named after a type of flat sedimentary rock called Laja which is similar to the floor tiles found in the Andes Mountains.

According to the local legend, in 1754 a woman who called herself Maria Mueces was carrying her deaf-mute daughter, Rosa on her back while walking near Las Lajas or The Rocks. They were caught in a very big storm. Maria then found a shelter in a cave above the Guaitara River, where she began to pray. To her surprise, Rosa spoke “the mestiza is calling me….” while pointing to the lightning illuminated painting over the Laja. An image of Virgin Mary was seen on an enormous vertical rock on one side of the gorge, 45m above the river. Over time this cave and the image became the site of numerous miraculous healings. Thereafter, every holy day of September 16, pilgrims particularly from Columbia and Ecuador come to visit this place.

Here some views of Las Lajas: