The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City is a major Catholic shrine, one of Mexico’s most familiar icons (the home of the image responsible for uniting pre-Hispanic Indian mysticism with Catholic beliefs) and one of the most visited churches in the world. It is built on Tepeyac hill which is an earth-friendly spirituality north of downtown Mexico City, and also the former site of the temple of Tonantzin, the Aztec fertility goddess. Tepeyac hill is where the Virgin Mary appeared to Juan Diego in 1531. On a visit to “La Villa de Guadalupe” you can visit the Old Basilica, where Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin built between 1695 and 1709, and the New Basilica which was built in the 1970s and shows the icon of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico’s patron saint.
The Virgin of Guadalupe:
Our Lady of Guadalupe is an aspect of the Virgin Mary who first appeared on Tepeyac Hill outside Mexico City to a native Mexican peasant named Juan Diego on December 12, 1531 telling him to build a church at the site in her honor. In 1999, the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City became the most-visited Catholic shrine in the world. Today, the Basilica of Guadalupe draws 1 million people on pilgrimage to La Villa during the Holy Week and especially the Holy Day of December 12 and is second only to St. Peter’s in Rome (The Vatican) as the most popular Catholic attraction in the world.
The “New” Basilica de Guadalupe;
There have been a number of Basilicas constructed on the site. The oldest existing chapel is located up the hill.
Built between 1974 and 1976, the new basilica was designed by architect Pedro Ramirez Vasquez (who also designed the National Museum of Anthropology and the Azteca Stadium). The Basilica of Guadalupe was constructed on the site of a 16th Century church, the “old basilica.”
• The style of construction was inspired from 17th Century churches in Mexico.
• The circular building with a circular floor plan allows visitors to see the maximum visibility of the image of the Virgin from any spot inside the building.
• The image of the virgin hangs above the main altar with moving walkways below transporting visitors back and forth under the image.
• The circular structure is 100 meters (330 feet) in diameter, and has room for 50 000 worshippers which mainly gather there on December 12th, the feast day of the Virgin of Guadalupe.
The Old Basilica:
The original construction was erected near the spot where two apparitions of the Virgin are said to have appeared to Juan Diego in December 1531 at the top of the hill, since then Pilgrimages have been made to this shrine. The shrine and other structures connected with the basilica elaborated, erected and expanded several times. Today this is called the Antigua Basilica de Guadalupe, or Old Basilica. Behind the old basilica there is a museum of religious art, and near there you will also find steps leading to the Capilla del Cerrito, the “hill chapel”.
The Basilica is open daily from 6 am to 9 pm.
The museum is open from 10 am to 6 pm Tuesday to Sunday.
The Basilica de Guadalupe is located in Villa de Guadalupe Hidalgo or simply “la Villa“in the north part of Mexico City.
How to get there:
As the basilica is out of the city in the north part of Mexico City (the central place of worship for Mexico’s patron saint) you can add to your trip a visit to one of the ruins of Teotihuacán too as both are in the same direction.
For the basilica take No. 3 metro line from downtown to Deportivo 18 de Marzo. Here, change to line No. 6 in the direction Martin Carrera, getting off at the Villa-Basilica stop then walk north two blocks along Calzada de Guadalupe.
By the bus: On Paseo de la Reforma take a “pesero” (bus) running north-east that says M La Villa.
La Villa de Guadalupe
Basilica de Guadalupe.
The New Basílica.
Carillon at La Villa
The Antigua Basilica de Guadalupe -Old Basilica- In Mexico City
Templo de las Capuchinas
The Jardin del Tepeyac
(Tepeyac Garden) And The La Ofrenda Monument
Showing The Virgin Of Guadalupe Receiving Gifts
From The Native People Of Mexico
The Original Image Of The Virgin Mary On The Original Cloak Of Juan Diego
Inside The New Basílica.
Our Lady of Guadalupe Appears to Juan Diego
The Antigua Basilica de Guadalupe In Mexico City.
On The Right Is The Capuchin Parish.
Parroquia de los Indios
Angel Statue on Tepeyac Hill
Statue of Pope John Paul II