Virgin of Chiquinquira, Patron Saint of Colombia

Arts & Culture

As the story goes, a miracle occurred and the painting was suddenly completely restored

Our trip began early in the morning in Bogotá, we left on the Autopista Norte, a road that runs through a region of old dairy farms and green pastures. We found fog in some sectors and one of the most beautiful natural lakes called 'Laguna de Fúquene', which for many years was an important sanctuary of the Muisca indigenous people.

It served as a place of spiritual work for the wise men of the community and is considered a sacred place, full of myths, legends, a bird sanctuary and hidden treasures that are surrounded by valleys and mountains of Andean forest. After two and a half hours of travel we arrived at Chiquinquirá, which is located 115 kilometers from Bogotá, a city that belongs to the Department of Boyacá and is considered the religious capital of .

Catholicism was introduced during the colonial era and the arrival of the Spanish. Colombia is now a predominantly Catholic country, where around 80% of the population is Catholic. For this reason, in all Colombian cities, among the main tourist attractions are a chapel, church, basilica or cathedral. There is the National Marian Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Rosary of Chinquinquirá, considered the promoter of missionary preaching and the Holy Rosary.

The statue of the Virgin of the Rosary was brought from Spain by the Dominican friars in 1555. In 1560 they were commissioned to paint the image of the Virgin Mary and the painting was completed on a cotton canvas, woven by the Indians, using a mixture It colors the soil and the juice of herbs and flowers. The image was placed in the thatched-roof chapel of Suta, where Fray Andrés evangelized the Indians of the region. Upon Brother Andrés' departure, the image was abandoned and suffered significant damage from water, dust and sun. The canvas was finally taken to Chiquinquirá and used as an object of domestic service. The story is known as the Miracle of the Renewal of the Canvas because in 1586 an Indian woman, who was walking with her son, said to a devotee who was praying to the Virgin: "Lady, look, the mother of God has come down from her." ". place, she's in your seat and she looks like she's on fire."

Miraculously the painting had been completely renovated. The chapel of the Virgin was erected here, which later received the title of Basilica due to the large and increasing number of pilgrims who visited it. The basilica has an area of 2,800 square meters and is divided into three naves in the shape of a Roman cross, a semicircular head and a large ambulatory. The 15 interior chapels surround the naves of the Basilica, representing the Houses of the Rosary. Behind the altar is the monument to the original painting of the Virgin of Chiquinquirá and behind it is the sanctuary.