Grotto of the Virgin de la Peña

At the end of the park beside the burro taxi stand is the Grotto of the Virgin de la Peña. The word peña means cliff in Spanish. A space has been hollowed out in the rock beside the castle walls and inside the space there is a chapel to the Virgin de la Peña, as well as a little room where the ceremonial clothes of the Virgin are kept.

The grotto has a very interesting legenc. In 1536 a man named Pedro Bernal lived in the town with his wife and two children, a boy called Juan (12 years old) and a girl called Asuncion (10 years old). On May 30 of that year, the children were playing where the park is now and saw a white dove that was very beautiful, much more so than the other doves. The dove alighted on them and they caressed it, before the dove flew away. The children told their parents when they went home about what they saw. The next day the children went back, and at the same time the beautiful white dove reappeared to them. When they went home and told their parents, the parents told them not to go back because something strange could happen to them.

So the next day the children stayed home. However the next day they returned to the spot and they heard a voice calling them. Beside the tower of the castle walls appeared the Virgin and Child in her arms, with the white dove on her shoulder. The boy asked her who she was, and she answered that she was the Mother of God. She told the children to tell their parents, the authorities of the town, and the town priest of what they saw. Her instructions were to remove her from the rock, where she had been inside for the last 500 years. The parents notified the authorities and the priest and the next day the whole town went to the tower, where the Virgin had appeared. The father went to the top of the tower and hit the rock where there was a hollow sound. He continued excavating the rock and found the Virgin, and the man fainted on seeing the Virgin.

The town gained fame because of this and there was a project to build a chapel in the same place, but nothing happened for many years. A pious hermit priest called Diego decided then to build the chapel himself. He continued excavating until the chapel was finished in 1682. The priest was buried in the chapel when he died.