When climbing the mountain of Lapa found one of the oldest and most famous shrines Portuguese, which attracts pilgrims from all over the country. In fact the chapel of Nossa Senhora da Lapa was built in the seventeenth century by the Jesuits, but the service is much older, with whom refers to the tenth century, when the attacks of the Moors made the Christian population has hidden an image of Virgin in a cave or "lapa". But stories, legends and miracles are not lacking in this sanctuary with many ex-votos and with a curious passage between rocks where only manages to sneak who did not commit grave sins.
Another belief attached to the shrine of Our Lady of Lapa says that this narrow passage between the rocks only if they can sneak those without serious sin in consciousness.
Sanctuary saves in the chancel miraculous rock with the image of Our Lady of Lapa. Of note treasures without tale offered up by kings and queens, the scenography of the altar of the Crucifixion and Death of S. Joseph, who moved him to tears, the very strong attraction of the rock crib deployed. The altar of Our Lady of Lapa was erected on the spot where, according to legend, Pastor Joan found the image hidden by the nuns. There is venerated for nearly four centuries, as crowds of Beira venerate know, the one in whom they see the light in their darkness and solace in anguish of heart. Also the altar of the Virgin Sleeping, the House of Miracles, full of paintings, weighing scales boys wheat, the lizard da Lapa, afraid, stuck to the ceiling by a chain of iron, entered the imagination of pilgrims who filled stories of the night their children. The Lady of Lapa, Portugal and Santiago de Compostela in Spain, came to be, at times, the two most important sanctuaries of the Iberian Peninsula.
Legend has it that a local man, who lived in India, was reportedly attacked by a large alligator. At this time of great sorrow, the man would have evoked the Nossa Senhora da Lapa to give him the strength to kill the power, and it succeeded.
As a sign of appreciation and gratitude for the help, was brought to the dorsal carapace and skin with these elements reconstituted if the "bug" and was offered to the shrine.
Over the years the skin was eaten by moth while the other part remained. Later a devotee, or simply curious, remembered the restore, covering the shell with a screen well oiled renovating one of the oddities of this Shrine.
Existence of lizards, also has another explanation, this originally from always fertile imagination of the people . Thus it is said that a woman who came from a village called Forca (now the village of St. Stephen), the path Quintela with skeins of flax for weaving in the middle of the mountainside in a place that has the name "Pit Lizard" came being attacked by a huge lizard mouth open to eat. The woman, distraught, remembered appeal to Senhora da Lapa and the idea occurred to him to throw the balls to the monster that took the bag up with the tips of the wires in his hands. With the balls swallowed, the woman was pulling the wires that made engasgassem and lead to death, the huge beast. In gratitude the woman brought the animal to the Lapa.
This second version of the origin of this ex-voto, arguably less plausible than the first, because a lizard (lizard) this size could hardly exist in this area, however was to give him the name by which he is known.