In 1985 the Ruins of what was once the Church of the Pure Conception of the rescue of Ujarrás, known as the Ujarrás Ruins, are declared a national monument. Ujarrás is the second region of the province of Cartago.
Our Lady of the Clean Conception of the Ujarrás Rescue. The oldest image of the Virgin in Costa Rica is known by this title.
Ujarrás Rescue is the most proper, the most original, and the one title that most clearly reunites the cultural, social and religious roots of our country.
Since 1561, the image of the Immaculate Conception and the Catholic Church began the path to the fifth century of the evangelization of America. They were accompanied by the Indian, the Spaniard, the Indian/Spaniard (mestizo) and every Costa Rican citizen. This image is the first to announce her son Jesus in Costa Rica, illuminating the devoted Franciscans.
This beautiful, original image is over four hundred years old and is worshipped in the Sanctuary of Paradise; it is of Spanish confection, with very fine features and is well preserved in the face and hands. However, a legend exists about it; it tells about an Indian that finds it in a box on the Mother of God riverbank. He carries it on his shoulders to Ujarrás, from where it is impossible for him to move it. Because of this, the Franciscans decide to put up a straw hermitage for it, turning her into what the first dwellers called The Queen of the Valleys.
But this legend has its hold on what the real population was in that time:
Boats entered through the Matina River, and riverbanks were used as roads; the Indians of Ujarrás were a small population by the Reventazón River that served as a lodge on long walks.
There are many prodigies known about the Virgin of Ujarrás, but the most important one is the miracle of Quebrada Honda in 1666, when the neighbors of Cartago and Ujarrás rejected pirates seeking treasures and domination.
The people give thanks to the Virgin for freeing their land. From this date on, each year the people of Cartago go down to the Valley to give thanks and take part in what is known as the Mass of the vote, or the Sworn Mass. Still today, April 16th of each year, the towns of Paraíso, almost in its totality, along with many Costa Ricans, go on a pilgrimage accompanying the image on a very nice walk and party to remember their origins and give thanks to the Virgin.
It is very convenient that the people of Cartago retake this great happening of our history. We are told that six temples are dedicated to the Patroness of Paradise. Three in Ujarrás, the third is now the Ruins of Cal y Canto, which is still conserved today. Three more are in the Plains of Santa Lucía, now called Paraíso. The third one is called Our Lady of Ujarrás Sanctuary, built in 1960. We must remember that the town of Ujarrás was moved to the Plains of Santa Lucía (Paraíso) in 1833, by a decree of the Boss of State of that time, don José Rafael Gallegos.
How to get there?
By bus: take the bus to Cachí, located behind the Iglesia del Convento (on Cartago town), it leaves each hour, every day, and costs 240 colones.
By Car: 10 km east to Paraiso Fire Station
Free. Everyday: 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. There's a little river and green areas.