The Basilica of Guadalupe is Mexico’s utmost religious center, it receives approximately 20 million persons every year. The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe is the second most visited Catholic sanctuary in the world, after the Basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican.
This sanctuary is located on Tepeyac hill, the place where during the pre-Hispanic era the Aztec goddess of maternity, Tonantzin, was worshiped. Ten years after the arrival of the Spaniards to Mexico, it was here where the Virgin of Guadalupe appeared before Juan Diego. He was an Indian walking through there on a Saturday, December 9 of 1531, when he saw a Lady praying. She asked Juan Diego to tell the bishop to build a temple for her on that hill. The bishop didn’t believe Juan Diego and asked for proof. Juan Diego returned to the hill on December 12, where the Virgin reappeared and told him to take roses to the bishop, this would be a sign of an otherworldly feat because there were none of those flowers on that hill during that season. The Indian took the roses and when he reached the bishop, extended his robe to let all the flowers fall on the floor. On the cloth of his robe appeared the Virgin’s image. This image is safeguarded and exhibited in the Basilica of Guadalupe. It is considered a miracle because it is believed that, because of its nature and technique, no person could have created it.
Every December 12, the day the Virgin of Guadalupe appeared before Juan Diego, this place resonates with the arrival of approximately three million worshipers. Their long pilgrimage to reach Mexico City from their cities of origin throughout the country is itself an act of extreme devotion. When reaching the Basilica’s esplanade, they dance throughout the day and night with truly autochthonous choreographies and costumes, creating an impressive mix of rhythm and colors with a profound respect to their Indian roots; hard to believe so many centuries after the Spanish Conquest.
The temple was built and soon thousands of pilgrims arrived, for which it had to be demolished to create a larger one. In 1709 began the construction of the first Basilica de Guadalupe. Centuries later, the amount of visitors made it necessary to build an even larger one, the new Basilica de Guadalupe was inaugurated on October 11, 1976 by Pope Paul VI. This basilica is where Pope John Paul II celebrated his greatest masses during his trips to Mexico, including the ceremony where he canonized Juan Diego in 2002.
The Villa of Guadalupe is the architectural group surrounding the Basilica de Guadalupe; in envelopes the former Basilica de Guadalupe, built in 1709, which has now become the museum of viceroyalty art; as well as the chapels Pocito and Cerrito, as well as the Tepeyac cemetery.
The museum was inaugurated on October 12, 1941, named Artistic Treasure of the Basilica of Guadalupe with the purpose of exhibiting the objects gathered throughout the centuries surrounding the Guadalupe worship, preserving the artistic memory of the Virgin. This space was modernized and changed its name to Museum of Basilica de Guadalupe, the proud venue where thousands of objects of cultural and historic value are safeguarded and restored.
Artículo Producido por el Equipo Editorial Explorando México.
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