The Basilica of Guadalupe

Representing the spiritual heart of the nation, the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe at La Villa is the second most visited Roman Catholic shrine in the world after the Vatican. Millions of pilgrims visit the grounds of this minor basilica annually to view the original cloak that bears the image of the Virgin Mary as she appeared to Saint Juan Diego in 1531, particularly on and around her feast day which is December 12th.

The grounds of the Basilica are extensive. We will climb to the top of the Tepeyac Hill which was once the site of a prehispanic ceremonial center dedicated to Mother Goddess Tonantzin, as well as visit numerous buildings, chapels and temples on the grounds.  We will point out the sites where the Virgin appeared before the recently converted native Indian Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, and explain several sculptures that decorate the site.  Aside from the Old Basilica (consecrated in 1709) and the modern structure (consecrated in 1976), which houses Juan Diego’s original cloak behind bullet proof glass, we will discuss the importance of Our Lady of Guadalupe from a sociological and historic perspective, given that she is the warp that holds the people of Mexico together.

Our comprehensive overview of the grounds will take about three hours.