Ermita de la Virgende la Pena, Mijas
A 17th Century cave-cum-shrine which was excavated by a Carmelite monk between 1656 and 1682, on the side of the Epistolary, a sacristy made of irregular stonework has been adde. The Eastern front, also made in a similar manner and for the same purpose, has a doorway with a round arch and a small belbry gable. In a small irregular niche excavated at the head of the hermitage you´ll find the Virgen de la Peña, patron of Mijas
Se trata de una ermita cueva, que data del siglo XVII, excavada en la roca por u n hermano Carmelita entre 1656 y 1682, a la que por el lado de la Epístola se le ha añadido una sacristia hecha con piedra irregular tratando de simular una covacha natural. En una hornacina irregular excavada en el testero se encuentra la imagen de la Virgen de la Peña, patrona de Mijas.
From the viewing terrace by the Tourist Info Office, I'd spotted this rock building - It is another of Mijas Pueblos attractions.
It was the The Hermitage (or cave) of the Virgin de la Peña, which is now a shrine to the Virgin of the Rock.
This cave holds two rooms-One is a chapel/church, the other holds an exhibition/museum of clothing and rich tapestries, candlesticks, a photo of Pope Benedict.
The chapel has an alter, above which is an image of the Virgin of the Rock, surrounded by flowers and foliage. To the right of the chapel is a niche where rosaries/offerings are displayed-It is requested that No photographs are taken of these-I respected this, as did the rest of our group.
So, We had found a different church/chapel-well it wasn't enough to be a different kind of church-there was a legend attached to this place.
Outside the church is an info board which explains a bit of the history of this place;
"This is in effect a 17th Century cave-cum -shrine which was excavated by a Carmelite monk between 1656 and 1682 and to the side of whose Epistolary a sacristy made of irregular stonework, attempting to give the impression that it is a natural formation, has been added. The Eastern front also made in a similar manner and for the same purpose, has a doorway with a round arch and a small belfry gable.
In a small irregular niche excavated at the head of the shrine is an image of Our Lady Virgen de la Pena, Protectress of Mijas, which enjoys a large devoted following among the towns people
and here's the legend......Pour yourself a glass/put on the kettle etc. This is copied from the plaque inside the chapel.....
"In the village of Mijas in the year 1536 lived Pedro Bernat Manrique and his wife. Asuneion Alcantara y Torreras, both born in the area of Trujillo. The couple had a son called Pedro who married Catalina Lamaire Sanchez in 1573; she being the daughter of Juan Linaire Herraro and Pilar Sanchez Estevez; iron merchants from Torrijos of Toledo, family of the parents of Saint Teresa of Jesus.
The couple had two children-Juan and Asuncian, both working age (he was 12 and she was10) Their Father bought them a few lambs for them to look after.
One Sunday, the 30th of May (being the day of Holy Trinity) at midday the two children were playing, when all of a sudden the most beautiful dove flew between them. The children ran to catch the dove. They caught it a while it was perched on the old tower where the heavenly queen appeared. They stroked and kissed the dove with tenderness and were lost for words.
They awoke thinking it had all been a dream, as the dove was no longer there.
When they returned home, they told their parents what had happened, but they took no notice of their child talk.
The next day, Monday the 31st May they returned to the same place, having forgotten that had happen to them the previous day. Once again at the same time and at the same place the same happened to them. Again they told their parents what had happened,. Their parents told them that they should not return to the site, as something could happen to them.
They did not return until Wednesday 2nd of June. They had once again forgotten everything that had happened to them . It was midday and the children were looking after their lambs when they heard a voice "look at me than" ; they turned their heads to see who was calling them, there they saw the dove perched on the window of the tower. All of a sudden a beautiful light of colours shone around the dove, and amongst the light appeared a lady with a child in arms.
The dove flew down and settled on the breast of the heavenly lady.
The children knelt to see so much beauty. The little girl exclaimed " What a Beautiful Lady" "Who are you?" asked the little boy innocently. " I'm the Mother of God" said the lady "What do you want from me and my sister?" said the little boy. " I want to talk to you" answered the lady. The little girl warned the lady "Careful you are going to fall off the tower" " No my girl, I won't fall" answered the lady.
" Now go home, tell your parents what has happened and also tell the authorities of the village and the priest. Tell them that I have been hidden here for over 500 years" Having said this, she disappeared,
The children told their Father of the vision, he then informed the authorities and priest and then went with the children to the castle. The father, who was a builder, climbed the tower to the place the children had seen the dove. He knocked on the area the children had said and it sounded hollow. He began to break away the wall. He then exclaimed in a shocked voice " Jesus it's Here", and then fainted.
Later the Priest of the village presented the Holy Virgin to the villagers. The whole village knelt to pay their respects.
Inside the cavern where they found the Virgin, they also found a strange shaped pair of candle sticks, two guardians relics a ciborium, and pieces of jewellery and the history of the virgin. The virgin was known from then on as the Virgin of the Tower
They gave then the image of the Virgin for him to carry it to the Parish Church.
The next day was Corpus Christi. The celebration was more serious than ever due to the fact of the discovery of the Virgine which happened the 2-6-1,586 at midday, in the region of Philip 11. This is the Encarnacion, who appeared to the children Juan & Asuncian Hernal.
Mijas gained fame because of this legend .
There was a plan to build a chapel in this spot, but for many reasons, this didn't materialise, until Diego, a pious hermit priest, took on the project. He continued excavating until the chapel was finished in 1682.
When he died, he was buried in the chapel.
Worth a visit-
There is a gift shop attached to this rock cave - I just had a quick look around - plenty of tacky religious 'souvenirs' / post cards etc.
There is a shop near the entrance to the garden, selling higher quality souvenirs/gifts /crafts etc.
- June 2nd....The Virgin is processioned around the town, and children offer flowers to the icon
Second week in September
Feria of Mijas -When the Virgin de la Peña is honoured by lights/ fireworks. Also a fair is held along with music, dancing, concerts, competitions etc.