In the Serra da Lapa, Viseu district, interior-center Portugal, stands a popular shrine known as the Santuario de Nossa Senhora da Lapa.
(1498) The story tells of a dumb sheperd girl, Joana, who found a statue of the Virgin Mary (probably from 997) on a great boulder and took it home. Irritated, her mother threw it on the fire, at wich moment the child miraculously spoke : "Don't burn it," cried Joana. "It is the Senhora da Lapa."
The chapel was built to enshrine the boulder, and the image, now with a slighly scorched face, looks down from an ornamental recess. The space below her niche is packed with images and offerings left by pilgrims. One of this offerings is a crocodile and is in the east wing of this church.
This is not a 3D file, it is really a church built around a big rock with a cave inside. The part of this legend that is special for me, is that , after this miracle, the local Priest re-located the St.Mary statue into the local existent church, and the statue disapeared and was found again at the original cave. This happened 3 times, till they decided to built a new sanctuary in place.
The first time I passed here was back in 1993 during a off-road Raid connecting Lisbon to Santiago de Compostela in north Spain, and everyone was amazed with this Sanctuary.
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