Cartago is a bustling suburb of San Jose. It’s located about 15 miles east of the capital and is driven through, if you want to see Irazu National Park – home of the Irazu Volcano.
Probably would not have stopped, but the Costa Rica passenger, Rococia, stated that this church was an important symbol for people in Costa Rica. So, stop we did.
Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Los Ángele, or the Basilica of Our Lady of Angels, is the main church of Cartago, Costa Rica.
Each August, about 1.5 million people have a pilgrimage to this church. (There is more information about that at Wikipedia.)
From the information gathered at the site, the church was rebuilt in 1912.
Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions destroyed the original church.
When it came to rebuilding the church, problems kept arising when rebuilding at the original site.
The construction moved to the site where “La Negrita”, and the rock that she was found on, was discovered, according to lore.
Construction at the new site began, and proceeded without further problems.
It’s believed that those problems were a divine intervention to have the church located where the original “La Negrita” was found by an indigenous woman in 1635. (Read Wikipedia to get the history of the church, “La Negirita ” (the Black Madonna) and the rock ( which is now housed in a back room of the church) where “La Negrita” was found.)
It is a beautiful structure.
Stain glass windows allow exterior light into the church with amazing colors. These windows are about 14 ft. high and about 7 ft. across. All were intact. No chips or cracks noticed in the glass. ( Considering a 6.0 earthquake is not unusual for the area, it is quite amazing that these windows are fully intact!)
On the outside of the church, are large statues that adorn the structure.
These are above the huge, wooden entry doors that lead to the altar of the church.
The interior of the church is all dark wood. Paneled walls throughout the interior instill a foreboding feeling on the visitor.
Electricity, being very expensive in Central America, is sparingly used to light the interior. Large, globed light fixtures do little to illuminate the dark interior.
In the old days, the interior was lit by candles.
In the back of the church, is the rock where “La Negrita” was found. During the pilgrimage, many people touch the rock because it’s believed to have healing powers.
On the outside right, in the back of the church yard, is a spring fed fountain. Many people believe that these waters have healing powers, too.
A church with a rich history and lore going back to the early 1600’s, it is a structure that is worth a visit.
After all, 1.5 million pilgrims believe this is an important site. It is well worth listening to them.
Cheers for now.