Santuario de la Lajas

You have probably seen images of this surrealist Cathedral a few times while doing research about Colombia, but never really found out what it was and even if it was real... This is a very little known place, totally unique right out of a Gothic tale.

The surrealistic Las Lajas Cathedral

The Santuario de la Lajas is one of these wonders that men once created, a Neo-Gothic Cathedral between 2 cliffs that is also a bridge, lost in some incredible scenery with waterfalls and beautiful views. The Cathedral was built on the bridge spanning the river gorge between 1916 and 1944.

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How to get there?
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Located at the Ecuadorian border, the Sanctuario de la Lajas is a must stop for anyone crossing to/from Colombia and Ecuador. 

=> If heading south to Quito it is best to plan an early visit if you don't want to arrive late in Quito, the boarder formalities and catching the connecting bus can be time consuming.

 The Santuario de las Lajas is located in the southern Colombian Department of Nariño, municipality of Ipiales and built inside the canyon of the Guaitara River, 7 kms South East of Ipiales. You can catch a taxi or a minibus from Ipiales bus station, there are quite a few all day. The 20 mins ride by bus should cost around COP$ 2000.

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The little story...
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Some beautiful statues around the Cathedral

You will bump into many pilgrims while visiting the site. In fact, the Virgin Mary's face is believed to have emerged from one of the rocks in the 18th century. There is a painting on the rock that shows where : "Our Lady of Las Lajas".

The picture penetrates the rock miraculously and is not painted, but mysteriously imprinted in the rock. The colors are not applied in a surface layer of paint or other material, but penetrate deep into the rock.

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=> Click on the pictures for a Zoom and use the Arrow keys for a slide show!

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Did you know?

The name Laja comes from the name of a type of flat sedimentary rock similar to floor tiles found in the Andes Mountains.

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