The Covadonga Sanctuary is sometimes called the cradle of Spain as the Muslim conquest of Iberia was stopped here.
In 722 a small Asturian army under Don Pelayo (Pelagius) ambushed an Umayyad army in the narrow valley and defeated the Moors in the battle of Covadonga. It was the first Christian victory and the start of the Reconquista.
Legend has it that Pelayo and his men hid in a local cave under protection of the Virgin Mary herself.
Pointa of interest at the Sanctuary are:
-A large bronze statue of a victorious Don Pelayo
-The Basilica of St Mary was constructed with a local pink limestone. Beneath the church is a very tranquil crypt where soft light enters through stained glass windows.
-The Holy Cave holds a small chapel with a 16th century statue of the Virgin of Covadonga and the tomb of Pelagius.
There is also a museum, a monastery and a garden with a sacred waterfall and, especially for the ladies, the Fountain of the Seven Pipes.
We visited Covadonga in May 2019.