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Ecuador: Baños de Agua Santa

About Baños de Agua Santa:

The city of Baños de Agua Santa lies at the foot of Tungurahua (an active volcano) and is surrounded by beautiful mountains, rivers and waterfalls. The city has long been a popular destination due to the hot springs located here and its water is credited with healing powers partly due to its high mineral content.

It is primarily famous for a series of reported apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is said to have  appeared in a 200-foot waterfall nearby, now known as the “Cascada del Virgen” (Waterfall of the Virgin).

About the Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Rosary of Agua Santa:

Basilica of Agua de Santo, Ecuador
Basilica of Agua de Santo (Photo courtesy Matthé Uijttewaal)

The construction of the current basilica was started by the Flemish Dominican Fr. Tomás Cornelio Halflants at the end of the 19th century and was completed in 1929. The church is of moderate Gothic style built with black and reddish volcanic stone from the local area.

The towers, lower than the height originally planned, were completed in 1929.

The internal decoration of the Sanctuary is due to the efforts of Fr. Sebastián Acosta, OP, who was Parish Priest from 1938 to 1948. The whole complex, sanctuary and convent, was blessed and inaugurated in 1944.

A sculpture of the Blessed Virgin Mary, “the Virgen de Agua Santa”, is in the cathedral and beautifully decorated according the the religious season.

The entire pictorial work is due to Brother Enrique Mideros, OP and was made between 1938 and 1944.

artwork in the basilica de Aqua Santa
Some of the artwork in the Basilica (Photo courtesy Matthé Uijttewaal)

What most attracts the attention of visitors are the wall paintings that collect miracles of the Virgin of Agua Santa.  The wall paintings  are mainly those related to important eruptions of the Tungurahua volcano over the last four hundred years.

Beginning October 7 each year, there is the popular festival called Nuestra Señora del Agua Santa. Historically people came to the church in the center of town in order to thank the Virgin for her many miracles and ask for her blessing. This festival draws many crowds due to its elaborate religious processions, music, dancers, and fireworks.

Traveling to Baños de Agua Santa:

It is about a three-and-a-half-hour drive south from Quito, Ecuador through the Andes.  In fact, the town is often referred to as “The Gateway to the Amazon” and the drive from Quito is quite interesting.

Address of the Basilica:  ambato y 12 de Noviembre, Banos de Agua

Tel:  +593 03-274-0451

email:  [email protected]

They do not have a website, but here is their Facebook page.

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