Perched on the hillside at the foot of the village is this shrine to the Virgin of the Rock. It was constructed in 1586 around a cave where, after five centuries, the long-lost statue of the Virgin was rediscovered by two children. The legend says that the children had been led here by a dove and saw the Virgin appear to them to indicate her hiding place. Their father was a builder so he created this shrine to honour the Virgin and mark the spot of the children’s vision. The statue now takes pride of place above the altar in this little chapel (see photo 4) and is surrounded by flowers. Despite what I read elsewhere, signs said it was allowed to take photos inside, although not of the many rosaries hanging on one wall, the offerings of supplicants to the saint – please respect that one restriction.
After you have seen the shrine itself, walk through to the sacristy beyond to see displays of ceremonial priestly robes, ornate silver crosses and other objects no doubt used in religious processions in the village. Outside a terrace offers spectacular views of the coast, and of Gibraltar and even Africa too on a clear day (apparently – we were not so lucky).
The first stop while in Mijas - after picking up the map at The Tourist Office is at this quaint little church a few steps from The Tourist Office. The shrine is set in the rock by the El Compás vantage point. It holds the image of the Virgin of the rock, the patroness of Mijas. The image of the Virgin was hidden during five centuries and was found in 1586. A builder found the image, but he was the father of two shepherd boys who were guided to the hiding place by a dove.
The name of the shrine in Spanis is "Santuario de la virgen de la pena".
At the order of Carmelite monks the shrine was carved out of a rock in the 16th century and built over the site of a Moorish castle.
It has been customary to write prayers down on a a piece of paper and stick them into the walls of the shrine, but that is now forbidden as it is covered in prayers. It is forbidden to take photos inside the church. But it was so lovely inside and one can go through the small shrine and leave it from another door at the back.
The shrine is number 2 on the map, number 1 is the donkey taxi ;)
The Shrine to Our Lady, Virgen de la Pena is inside a cave which was hollowed out between 1656 and 1682 by a Carmelite monk called Diego after two children told a tale of a lovely dove appearing to them followed by a voice calling them. Beside the castle tower was the Virgin with a child in her arms with the dove on her shoulder. She instructed the children to tell the town to remove her from the rock which she had apparently been in for 500 years. When the excavating was done, the priest saw the Virgin and promptly fainted.
The Santuario de la Virgin de la Pena is a small chapel built into a rock overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. This is a shrine that was built back in 1586 in the spot where supposedly Virgin de la Pena, the patron saint of the Mijas village, miraculously appeared. The chapel is quaint and another room in the rock displays the ornate robes of higher ups in the Catholic church - cardinals maybe. They were pretty darn fancy and heavy looking. Not something I would want to wear in the Mediterranean climate.