Church in a Gorge

Location: Ipiales, Colombia

Video: Coming soon

Las Lajas Sanctuary is a Roman Catholic Church located deep in a gorge in Ipiales, Colombia. A gorgeous church on a bridge with an amazing view, and still holding a daily mass.

Built between 1916 and 1949, the church’s creation, and location was based on a miraculous event that happened back in 1754.

According to popular belief, the Virgin Mary appeared to a woman and her deaf-mute daughter in 1754 at exactly the same place where the church is now standing.The woman, Maria Meneses de QuiƱones, and her daughter, Rosa, were passing by the Guaitara river when they found themselves hiding from a storm. At that moment, Rosa shouted “Mum, the Virgin is calling me!” and pointed to the appearing virgin. The woman kept quiet about the miracle until something even more incredible happened. When Rosa died, Mueces returned to the place where they had seen Virgin Mary to pray for her daughter’s soul. The virgin then miraculously revived Rosa, and mother and daughter could no longer keep the miracle a secret. The first shrine in the honor of Jesus’s mother was built a few years after the alleged appearance, according to the journal of a friar who was traveling the region between 1756 and 1764. Half a century later, in 1802, a bigger shrine was built and worshipers erected the first version of the bridge that now allows access to the church.

The miraculous appearing of the virgin is only the first of a number of legends and mysteries linked to the Las Lajas Sanctuary. For example, nobody knows who made the image of the Virgin Mary that is at the end of the church, behind the altar. According to some, the image was seen first when Mueces wanted to show a priest and other locals where her daughter had been revived. On arrival, the worshipers saw the image of the Virgin Mary and Jesus carved in a stone wall. The image attracts thousand of pilgrims every year. Las Lajas received canonical coronation from the Vatican in 1952 and was made a minor basilica in 1994.