On this spot a few years ago, okay in 1531 to be precise, a Mexican Indian peasant fellow named Juan Diego, had a vision of the Virgin Mary. The local bishop wasn't so sure about this but when Juan saw the same woman again shortly thereafter, this time she instructed him to collect a bunch of roses which began growing in the rocky soil at his feet . When he dumped them out, his cloak had her image on it and that bishop changed his tune, fast. He had a church built here straight away, and the now holy cloth was hung up on a wall for the masses to see.
Then, a bigger shrine was building in 1561-1575.
In 1601-1622 a rich shrine was erected;
a newer one, much richer, in 1695-1709.
Other structures of the 17th century and 18th century connected with it are a parish church, a convent and church for Capuchin nuns, the Well Chapel, and the Hill Chapel.
About 1750 the shrine got the title of collegiate, a canonry and choir service being established. It was aggregated to St. John Lateran in 1754; and finally, in 1904 it was created a basilica.
When this Old Basilica (from 1709) became dangerous due to the sinking of its foundations, a modern structure called the New Basilica was built nearby between 1974 and 1976, designed by architect Pedro Ramírez Vásquez.
It has a circular floorplan and the original image of the Virgin is located high up on one wall, so it can be seen from any point within the building.
An empty crucifix symbolizes Christ's resurrection.
The choir is located between the altar and the churchgoers to indicate that it, too, is part of the group of the faithful.
Its seven front doors are an allusion to the seven gates of Celestial Jerusalem.
It can accommodate 10,000 worshippers at a time, which is often necessary because a mass is almost always taking place inside.
Street vendors line the winding uphill path behind the other chapels, the Plaza de las Américas (Americas Square) and main streets around the site.
Mexico is the second largest Catholic nation in the world now. Over 90 percent of Mexicans consider themselves Catholic. Waves of pilgrims flood the place year-round, but are especially thick on December 12 since 1531.
Basilica de Guadalupe is considered by many Catholics to be the holiest place in all of the Americas and it is the most visited sanctuary in Latin America.
Well, the basilica may be the second most visited shrine in all the Catholic world, second only to St. Peter's (Vatican).
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.
According to the legend, The Holy Virgin appeared here. It was the Indian farmer Juan Diego who saw her here at the foot of the hill, Cerro Del Tepeyac on December the 9th 1531.
And since that day his whole Indian community took the Virgin as their patroness. But even nowadays this Virgin of Guadalupe plays an important role in the religious life of most Mexicans, This Virgin is even more important then Jesus Christ. At the place where the Virgin appeared they built a church around 1566, later on around 1709 they built this Basilica.
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.
Whether or not you choose to believe the story surrounding the foundation of the church at this location (the present Basilica is the third structure on the site), you will certainly appreciate the devotion of the Mexican people to their patroness, the Virgen de Guadalupe.
Legend has it that a simple peasant, one Juan Diego (recently canonized by the Catholic Church), received a visitation from the Blessed Virgin, only this apparition had the darker skin of the indian population. He reported the visitation to the local priest, who doubted him. Juan returned to the site and the Virgin reappeared, this time offering Juan red and white roses to bring back as proof -- it was December, when they were not in bloom. These he wrapped in his cloak and brought back to show the priest. However, when the roses tumbled out, something miraculous was seen: the image of the Virgin was imprinted in the cloak.
That cloak is one of Mexico's holiest icons, and its home is the Basilica de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, on the northern edge of the city limits. The new Basilica isn't as impressive as its predecessor (still on the site, but listing sadly and unsafe for touring), but for the many thousands who visit each year, the draw is the sacred image.
Viewing the image in itself is interesting. You go to an area behind the altar and down below it. From there, you step on a little moving walkway and are whisked past the icon!
A museum is also part of the complex, situated to the rear of the older Basilica.
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.
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.
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.
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