The Basilica of the Virgin of Cisne is one of Ecuador’s most visited religious sites. On August 17th every year, pilgrims gather in El Cisne to begin a three-day procession to Loja, 70 km away. The statue of the Virgin is carried to the cathedral in Loja where it remains until it is returned to El Cisne on November 3. The name “cisne” - “swan” - came from a tradition that began in western Europe with members of the “Order of the Knights of the Swan'” who constructed temples to honor the Virgin Mary.
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