Not far from the city of Ipiales (Colombia) in the gorge is the amazing beauty of the Cathedral of Las Lajas. It is built on a bridge, and its altar adjoins directly to the rock.
The amazing openwork Neo-Gothic architecture attracts thousands of tourists, and the shrine hidden inside has been a place of pilgrimage for more than 250 years.
The Cathedral of Las Lajas (El santuario de Las Lajas) is called the Colombian wonder of the world. It is built in the form of a castle, and the facade resembles lace. A 30-meter arched bridge leads to the cathedral.
A beautiful legend is connected with the appearance of the temple. A few centuries ago, an Indian woman named Maria Musis de Quinones was walking with her deaf-mute daughter Rosa from a small village to the city of Ipiales. On the way, the travelers were caught by a storm, and they had to take shelter in one of the caves nearby. While the woman was waiting out the bad weather, the girl was climbing on the rocks and suddenly exclaimed: “Mom, here is a half-breed with a small half-breed and two half-breeds next to her!” The woman was so glad that her daughter spoke, and she did not attach any importance to the strange image in the middle of the cave.
The Indian woman did not tell anyone about the image on the stone. After a while, her little daughter died, and the mother rushed into the cave with pleas. A miracle happened – the daughter came to life, then the woman told the village about the find. She brought the shepherd to the cave, and after him came all the other inhabitants of the village. Seeing the image, the pastor fell to his knees and exclaimed that the Face of the Mother of God had appeared to them. This incident occurred on September 15, 1754.
The cave has become a place of pilgrimage. In order to protect the rock icon with the image of the Mother of God holding a baby in her arms, a church with a thatched roof was erected in the same year, which was subsequently rebuilt several times. In 1769, at the expense of alms from parishioners, they began to build a cathedral.
In 1916, the cathedral was rebuilt again. The authorities considered that the previous design was too simple for such a shrine. The last finishing works were completed in 1949. Las Lajas Cathedral fits perfectly into the surrounding landscape, and its neo-Gothic architecture suggests that the building was built several centuries ago.
Inside the cathedral, the parishioners are attracted by a bright icon on a stone. During the entire existence of the shrine, it has never been restored. Only the crowns above the heads of the Saints were added. There is an opinion that the stone on which the icon is depicted is impregnated with paint a meter deep.