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La Villa de Guadalupe
Neighborhoods / Image of La Villa / Attractions of Mexico City

Zone: North
Subway: La Villa-Basílica
Opened every day
24 hrs.
Telephone: 5577 6022

Maximum religious centre in Mexico, the Village of Guadalupe is a place of important relevance in the hearts of all Mexican people as it’s the place which holds the image of the Virgin Guadalupe, patron of the Americas and one of the most profound symbols of the mixture of races and the Mexican culture.

This sanctuary’s background dates back to pre-Hispanic times, as it was in this place (Tepeyac Hill) where the Aztec goddess of motherhood Tonantzin was worshiped. The apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe took place a few years after the Spaniards arrived: “The Christian indigenous families appear near Mexico City during the second decade of the Colonial rule. Juan Diego’s family was among them, they came from Cuautitlán; where he was born and raised. Towards 1531 he was apparently living in Tultepec, with his wife and his uncle Juan Bernardino. There weren’t many churches yet, that’s why they had to go all the way to the Santa Cruz Temple in Tlatelolco to hear mass, in the northern border of the city. On Saturday, September 9th 1531, Juan Diego headed towards Tlatelolco. When he walked by Tepeyac hill, he heard an unearthly song. He stopped to listen and wondered what it could mean. Above him he saw something like a shining sun and in the middle a Lady in prayer. He approached her and after greeting her, she told him it was her desire that a temple should be built in that clearing. She also asked him to communicate this desire to the bishop. Juan Diego went to see him and but they didn’t take him seriously and asked for him to come back on Sunday with a sign that would prove the Virgin’s will. The Lady appeared again and told him to come back the next day. On Monday his uncle Juan Bernardino got sick, so on Tuesday he went to the city to fetch a priest that would give him spiritual aid. That day, Tuesday the 12th, the Saintly Virgin appeared again when he got to Tepeyac hill and asked him what was happening. Juan Diego told her about his uncle’s illness and that he was going to fetch a priest. She told him not to worry, that his uncle was healthy again (she appeared to Juan Bernardino as well, healed him and told him her name was Saint Mary of Guadalupe). She then told him to go up the hill to collect some flowers. Juan Diego did and found some beautiful and fresh roses, which neither grew there nor was it time for them to flourish. After wrapping them in his cloth, the Saintly Virgin told him to take them to the bishop, but not to show the cloth or what was in it to anyone else. So he did. After managing to enter the bishopric, he told the bishop that he had the sign he had asked for. Then, he undid his cloth and the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared printed on its surface.   

As a result of these appearances, it was decided a temple would be built in that place and it was so, but because of the great amount of visitors, it had to be demolished so a bigger temple could be built, as well as several chapels that still exist like the Temple of the Little Well, the Indian’s chapel and the Church of the Hill located at the top of the Tepeyac. And so in 1709 the construction of the first Basilica of Guadalupe began, which functioned for several years, but whose structure was affected later by the neighboring construction of the Capuchinas Convent. This, as well as the fact that the building was still too small for all its visitors, led to the construction of yet another Basilica, designed by the architect Pedro Ramírez Vazquez and consecrated on October 11th 1976 by Pope Paul VI. In this Basilica, Pope John Paul II celebrated mass several times on his trips to Mexico, among them, the canonization of the Indian Juan Diego.

This temple has been visited by celebrated characters from all around the world, John F. Kennedy and Charles de Gaulle among them. Nevertheless the main visitors of this monumental religious sanctuary are the faithful from all around the world who participate in the peregrinations, specially the one on December 12th, the day we celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe.         









  Mexico, D.F. 2008. All rights reserved.