Our Lady of Covadonga Asturias Sanctuary with the Holy Cave and the Majestic Basilica of Santa Maria

Covadonga Asturias

Covadonga is the heart of Asturias in a number of ways. Covadonga’s Holy Cave holds the tomb of Pelayo, who in 722 won the Battle of Covadonga against the Muslim Moors, and later became the first King of Asturias.

The victory of Covadonga started the so called Reconquest, a fight of some 800 years between the Muslims and Christians. During the first 200 years after the battle, Asturias was the Christian stronghold in the Iberian Peninsula.

Closely related to the glorious past of Asturias is also Our Lady in Cave. Actually, this image of a Virgin gives Covadonga its name. The original Latin name was “Cova dominica”, meaning Cave of the Lady. In the course of years, “Cova dominica” was abbreviated to Covadonga.

Our Lady of Covadonga Asturias Sanctuary with the Holy Cave and the Majestic Basilica of Santa Maria

See more Catholic shrines and Basilicas in Spain.

See more European Catholic Shrines and pilgrimages

See top 15 Catholic shrines around the world

Our Lady of Covadonga Asturias Sanctuary with the Holy Cave and the Majestic Basilica of Santa Maria

Coming to Covadonga and having the best stay:

Guides and tours to Covadonga:

The Holy Cave

Hosting the Virgin of Covadonga, the Holy Cave is the nucleus of the Covadonga Sanctuary. Bells inviting people to masses and other services are tolling hourly all day long, except during the siesta. Rosaries – vocal and silent prayers emphasizing the participation in the life of Mary, whose focus was Christ – are held every afternoon at five in the Holy Cave.

Myths and legends about the relationship between Pelayo and Our Lady vary. Some of them tell that the Lady was in the cave before Pelayo sought refuge in it, others that Pelayo brought Her into the cave.

Our Lady of Covadonga Asturias Sanctuary with the Holy Cave and the Majestic Basilica of Santa Maria

A fact is that Pelayo built an altar to Virgin Mary in the Cave as a homage of gratitude and memory of the triumph obtained through Her. The great devotion of Asturians to this holy place finds expression in the tombs of Pelayo, his wife Gaudiosa and his sister, as well as in the tombs of Alfonso I and his wife Hermelinda, who was Pelayo’s daughter.

The original chapel in the Cave was of wood, but it burned down with everything in it, including the Virgin, in 1777. The present image, dating from the 16th century, was donated by the Chapel of Oviedo Cathedral one year later.

The modern chapel represents romanesque style and was built by Luis Menendez Pidal. Below the cave lies a beautiful lake, into which people throw coins to make a wish.

You can access the chapel by taking the steps close to the bridge with two massive marble lions guarding the entrance to the sanctuary, or through a vaulted passage starting behind the Gran Hotel Pelayo.

Hundreds of candles lit by pilgrims illuminate the passage in the evening. Rich ornaments and crosses add to its warm and pious atmosphere.

The Majestic Basilica

The most glorious building in the sanctuary is the Basilica of Santa Maria la Real de Covadonga. Standing on a hill it is visible long before you reach the sanctuary. Its rosy appearance comes from the pink marble excavated from the mountains of Covadonga.

The first drafts for the basilica were made by Roberto Frassinelli, a versatile German erudite, but the plans were finished by Frederico Aparici. Construction started in 1877, and the inauguration took place in 1901.

In the brilliant evening illumination this neo-romanesque monument is a wonderful sight. Also the statue of Pelayo standing at the basilica square saluting people with a sword in his hand and protected by the Cross of Victory gets extra enchantment from the evening lightning.

Our Lady of Covadonga Asturias Sanctuary with the Holy Cave and the Majestic Basilica of Santa Maria

Inside the basilica, you can marvel the stained-glass windows shedding light to arched aisles. Behind the altar you find the Cross of Victory, left from it the “Capilla del Santísimo” and right from it the “Capilla del rosario”. The most notable works of art are the statue of Our Lady of Covadonga, and the pictures of the Proclamation of King Pelayo.

The basilica square is lined by the museum, where you can follow the history of Covadonga all the way from the great battle. It displays the paintings of the Kings of Reconquest, the jewelry donated to the Virgin and many other objects from different epochs of the sanctuary.

The oldest building in the Sanctuary is the San Fernando Collegiate Church, built in 1585-1599, with a square tower, housing the tombs of two abbots from the 11th century.

View hotel deals:



Booking.com

Campanona

Shortly before entering the Holy Cave, above the right we can see the bell. It has a purely decorative function and has been modeled by high Asturian furnaces in the Metallurgical Society of La Felguera i nthe late XIXth century. It weighs 5000 Kg. It measures 3 meters high and is donated to the shrine from Luis Gonzalez Herrero. It won the first prize and medal of honor at the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1900.

Fountain of Seven Spouts

Fountain of Seven Spouts with a promise to young ladies. “The Virgin of Covadonga has a fountain very clear, the girl who drinks from it will marry within a year”. It is located just below the Holy Cave

The Majestic Basilica

The most glorious building in the sanctuary is the Basilica of Santa Maria la Real de Covadonga. Standing on a hill it is visible long before you reach the sanctuary. Its rosy appearance comes from the pink marble excavated from the mountains of Covadonga. The first drafts for the basilica were made by Roberto Frassinelli, a versatile German erudite, but the plans were finished by Frederico Aparici. Construction started in 1877, and the inauguration took place in 1901.

In the brilliant evening illumination this neo-romanesque monument is a wonderful sight. Also the statue of Pelayo standing at the basilica square saluting people with a sword in his hand and protected by the Cross of Victory gets extra enchantment from the evening lightning.
Inside the basilica, you can marvel the stained-glass windows shedding light to arched aisles. Behind the altar you find the Cross of Victory, left from it the “Capilla del Santísimo” and right from it the “Capilla del rosario”. The most notable works of art are the statue of Our Lady of Covadonga, and the pictures of the Proclamation of King Pelayo.

The basilica square is lined by the museum, where you can follow the history of Covadonga all the way from the great battle. It displays the paintings of the Kings of Reconquest, the jewelry donated to the Virgin and many other objects from different epochs of the sanctuary.

The oldest building in the Sanctuary is the San Fernando Collegiate Church, built in 1585-1599, with a square tower, housing the tombs of two abbots from the 11th century.

 

Posted in Europe and Spain