It is said that in the 15th century the Virgin Mary appeared to a shepherd where the Ermita de las Nieves is currently located, indicating that it was ‘her will to have a chapel built on that hill’. The little shepherd boy spread the news and it wasn’t long before they constructed the very first in a series of chapels to be built in this isolated, clifftop location.
The initial fervour died off, however, and the chapel fell into disrepair. After two centuries of neglect, it was 1676 when the Virgin apparently lost patience, and appeared to another shepherd who had stopped there to lay his head for the night. She said; ‘If only you were willing to make amends, then you would not be without water!’ Lest there be any doubt about her urgency for the locals to atone for their sins, she reappeared shortly afterwards and insisted; ‘Is there no good Christian who might raise the house of the Virgin of the Most Holy of the Snows?’ Upon hearing this last message, they wasted no more time and rushed to rebuild and expand the old building.
After spreading the word, the locals trusted in the power of the Virgin to attract the rains. And in the years when the drought was especially brutal, they would take out her statue in a procession imploring her to make good on her word.