Some 6km east of Tegucigalpa’s centre, the monolithic white bulk of the Basílica de Suyapa rises from the flat plains. Built in the 1950s, it is home to the Virgen de Suyapa, patron saint of Honduras. The statue of the Virgin was discovered by two campesinos in 1743. The story goes that after bedding down for the night, one of them noticed he was lying on something, but without looking to see what the offending object was, threw it to one side. Within a few minutes, however, the object had returned. The next day, the two carried the little statue down to Suyapa where, placed on a simple table adorned with flowers, the Virgin began to attract worshippers.
Today you can see the tiny statue (just 6cm tall) behind the wooden altar in La Pequeña Iglesia, the original eighteenth-century chapel behind the Basílica. According to legend, each time she is placed in the larger Basílica, the Virgin mysteriously returns to the simple chapel, built by Captain José de Zelaya y Midence in thanks for the recovery of his health.