This series of 7 churches is considered the holiest place in Mexico and sits on the site where in 1531 a local shepard had visions of the Virgin Mary. Since then the site is now a pilgrimage site and the Virgin of Guadaluape is credited with many miracles.
We came here after amorning in the ruines of Teotihuacan. First of all there are two Basilicas. One is the original Basilica and the other is the new one. There are also a fewother churches in the area. Even if you are not Catholic you should pay a visit to the Basilica. We parked in the down stairs garage area and then went into the shops that are located right there to purchase some religious items so that the priest can bless them. I purchased a beautiful crucifix and a rosary that smells like roses. It is interesting to know that church is everyday here starting at 6am at the last service is at 9pm. They have service almost every hour. We went to the gardens right next to the Basilica which are so beautiful and very well maintained. You can see the two waterfalls there that celebrate the union or joining of two cultures. Also if you go all the way up the hill past more gardens you will get to the exact place where the Virgen Mary appeared to Juan Diego.
To me, it was all very fascinating. At the top of the hill there is a church which depicts the whole story of Juan Diego and the Virgen Mary on Frescos.
The tradition of La Villa de Guadalupe (commonly known as "la Villa"), involves a miracle and an Indian saint: manifested in the apocalyptic fashion of the Virgin emblazoned in rough cloth, brought to the attention of XVI century Indians living their own end of the world, the image then fascinated Creoles, who multiplied it until it became a national phenomena in the XIX century. It was the Indian Juan Diego whose vision of Virgin Mary in 1531 started a saga of stories that aided the conversion of millions of Indians to Catholicism and became a symbol of Mexican people around the world.
The Basílica, located in the North side of the Americas Square there is a church that used to house the image of the Virgin, from the beginning of the XVII century until 1976, when the new Basilica was built following the design of architect Pedro Ramírez Vázquez. The former building, in contrast, has the features of Pedro de Arrieta's style: Baroque forms and refined ornaments that include volcanic red stone and colored tiles on the domes and bell towers.
1- the image of the virgin (from the miracle).
2- The church that house the image of the virgin until 1976
3- Me and my son in front of the new "Basilica de guadalupe" the church that houses the image of the virgin today.
4- the image of the virgin (from the miracle) in the cloth over the Mexican flag.
Located near of Tepeyac hill, north of Mexico City. The site is nearby the place where it is said Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared in front of Juan Diego. The Basilica is the most important religious building in Mexico. It houses the original tilma (or apron) of Juan Diego that shows the icon of Our Lady of Guadalupe. It is visited by several million people every year, especially around December 12, Our Lady of Guadalupe's Feast day.
La Villa de Guadalupe like many modern sanctuaries in Mexico found its origin in sacred hills and caves, however its location north of Mexico City has given it national importance.
The tradition of La Villa de Guadalupe, as it is now known, involves a miracle and an Indian saint: manifested in the apocalyptic fashion of the Virgin emblazoned in rough cloth, brought to the attention of XVI century Indians living their own end of the world, the image then fascinated Creoles, who multiplied it until it became a national phenomena in the XIX century. It was the Indian Diego whose vision of Virgin Mary in 1531 started a saga of stories that aided the conversion of millions of Indians to Catholicism and became a symbol of Mexican people around the world.
A circular modern church (the New Basilica) was built when the original one started to sink making it unsafe under the weight of the 10 million people who make the pilgrimage to her shrine every year. The Old Basilica is still open to the public. As you enter, you are greeted by a bronze statue of St. Juan Diego whose cloak is engraved with the famous image. Hanging from his left arm and pinned to the red board behind him are rosaries, letters, pictures and prayers of all kinds.
It is in an unassuming hallway of the new church though where you will find hanging the cloak of Juan Diego framed in gold. It was transferred here from the high altar to allow more people to view this sacred image without obstructing the mass. As I stared at it in awe, passing it slowly on the walkalator and almost forgetting to take a picture, I felt the hair on my arms and the back of my neck stand. I felt her presence. It easy to understand how this vision has captivated both believers and non-believers alike. I felt unworthy to be in her presence and I was humbled before it.
Go to the basilica towards the north of the city. It is where in 1531 the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to a humble Indian, Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin on the hills of Tepayec that she wished the bishop for a church to be built in her honour. You may read more about his story on the official website www.virgendeguadalupe.org.mx or the hundreds of websites dedicated to this image of the Blessed Virgin Mary. FYI, it's the most visited pilgrimage site in the world; 20 million people (almost equal to the population of Mexico City) visit the shrine basilica every year.
Two basilicas bear the name of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The first, begun in 1531, is now the museum of the basilica., The current one, built between 1974 and 1976, is a circular building constructed in such a way as to allow maximum visibility for the Dark Virgin.
The story of the image of the Dark Virgin is an interesting one. Juan Diego was walking on December 12, 1531. Along the way, in the village of Guadalupe, the Virgin Mary appeared, speaking to him in his native Nahuatl language. She told him to build a church at the site, but when Juan Diego spoke to the Spanish bishop, the bishop did not believe him, asking for a miraculous sign. The Virgin told Juan Diego to gather flowers from a hill, even though it was winter, when no plants bloom. He found Spanish roses and presented these to the bishop. When the roses fell from his apron an icon of the Virgin remained imprinted on the cloth.
The apron containing her image has been hung in the church built on the spot through the building's various versions. The picture is of a woman with olive skin, rather than the white skin of European iconography, that appealed to both indigenous Mexicans and their mestizo descendants as one of them. Similarly, Juan Diego, was a Native and not a Spaniard. The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe has been used by advocates of indigenous rights throughout Mexico's history, most recently by the Zapatista movement.
On 9th december, 1531, young indian saw a vision of Virgin Mary. When he told told the story to the priests, they didn't belive him. But that chancged when he saw her again. Since then, thousend of pilgrims came to this place to worship Virgin Mary, who became the main patron of, first Nueva España and later Mexico.
Many pilgrims ''walk'' the last meters to the basilica on their knees.
When the old basilica became too small for all worshipers it was neccessary to build a new, bigger one. So, in the 70's this new, modern looking basilica was built right next to the old one. It can hold couple of thoussend people at once.
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