Virgin of Gracia Sanctuary
About 6 kilometers from La Fresneda the remains of the Sanctuary of the Virgen de Gracia are preserved. Its origin is related to the appearance of the Virgin to a shepherd girl from Valjunquera.
Distance 12km round trip - Duration of the tour:
By car: 1 hour
On foot: 3 hours [Easy Difficulty]
Bicycle: 1: 30/2 hours [Easy Difficulty]
Recomendaciones: Llevar a agua
Recorrido / Como llegar?:
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At first, a modest hermitage was built in the concavity of a cave, and around 1580, La Fresneda donated the land and the church to the Minimums of San Francisco de Paula. In 1795 a large church was built to house the original chapel. It was a building with three naves, with a large façade, which is still preserved today, although the rest of the building is in ruins.
According to legend, a shepherd girl from Valjunquera found the figure of a Virgin in this cave on Mount Mangranera. He took it to his town, but after a few days the image disappeared and they found it again in this place, so he decided to build a small hermitage here dedicated to the Virgin of Grace.
Later, in 1850, the town and the Encomienda de La Fresneda ceded the hermitage and its land to the Order of Minims of San Francisco de Paula, which would initially mark the beginning of a relationship with the town that would last almost 300 years. But the habitability difficulties that the original hermitage presented led the friars to found a convent within the town where they settled in 1595. However, the urban settlement did not mean the oblivion of this Sanctuary and the town of La Fresneda donate the position of the land to the religious who built here a new convent in the s. XVIII, of ashlar masonry, distributed over four floors and provided with cells and services for the community and pilgrims. In addition, it was connected internally with the Chapel of the Virgin. Starting in 1795, they also built, integrating the original chapel, a large church with three naves in the Baroque style with neoclassical elements on the façade.
The head rests on the cave with an ambulatory between it and the main altar. The roof was a canon vault with lunettes.
Although it is in an advanced state of ruin, it is one of the most outstanding sanctuaries in the province. For this reason, in 2001 it was declared an Asset of Cultural Interest.
The town of La Fresneda summons the tradition of organizing the pilgrimage the first weekend of May at Convent, o Sanctuary of the Virgen de Gracia de la Cueva or, also called, the Desierto de La Fresneda.