From what I have read, legend says that a man named Juan Diego had a vision from the Virgin Mary in the year 1531 telling him that she wanted a temple built in Mexico City in her honor and that he needed to tell the bishop this. The bishop wanted proof so Mary told Juan Diego to pick some roses and wrap them in his cloak to take back. When Juan Diego got back to the bishop and unwrapped the roses from his cloak, the image of Mary appeared on it.
Before we entered any buildings we were drawn to the sound of music and the sight of tribal dancing. We watched these teenagers dancing and then felt sorry for them. It was a little warm on this day and I don't know how long they had already been dancing but they didn't stop for a long time after we got there!
The old church was beautiful! I loved the old style.
I love the bell towers.
I love the vast interiors.
I even love the strange things you can find in Catholic churches. Take for instance this statue representing Jesus as a child that a person can pray to. I am not sure why you would pray to Jesus as a child or to a statue for that matter. All I could think of when I saw this was the little baby Jesus prayer from Talladega Night. (Don't worry, this links to a clean version!)
When the old basilica was discovered to be sinking in the mid 1970's they decided to build a new one. The new basilica is so different from any church I have seen. It was interesting to see the contrasts.
The inside of the new basilica was enormous! We actually went on a Sunday afternoon and it was packed during one of the services.
We quietly made our way around the side away from the people there to worship to see the original 16th century image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. You get to stand on this short moving walkway to view the image without everyone stopping and being in the way.
After seeing the inside of both the old and the new basilica we made our way over to a massive set of stairs. We had no idea what was at the top, but hey, other people were going up there and it looked pretty, so we went too.
Yes, I understand that just blindly following a crowd can always lead to potential death, but sometimes you just have to risk it! Besides, did I mention how pretty it looked??
Before we got too far up the steps on the right hand side there were statues in a lovely rose garden depicting the bishop and Juan Diego with his cloak that had the image of the Virgin Mary on it.
Further up and in several places on the steps there were spots where you could pay to pose for a picture with flowers, donkeys, the Virgin Mary, and Pope John Paul II's picture. There was even a sombrero you could wear to complete the picture.
Did I find it pretty? Yes, of course! Look at all the colors!
Did I find it completely tacky and a questionable trade at a church? Absolutely!
After climbing up a ton of stairs....
...we made it to the top and the views were SPECTACULAR!
There were other chapels up there but by the time we got up there it was past 5 and they had closed. While up there you could buy souvenirs and refreshments. I just don't know about all that. I just don't know.
Once up and done, there was no where to go but down. So that is what we did. I was hoping to get to the Garden del Tepeyac to see the statues but we were too late. They had already locked the gate. Luckily however, I could see them from the stairs as we walked down and I was able to take a picture.
Still continuing our trek down we saw a beautiful temple called Templo del Pocito. The building was built up around a water well that was once believed to have healing powers. It since dried up but the building remains.
One final building that we passed before leaving had this beautiful window with the sun shining through from the otherside. It just glowed colors. I loved it paired with the white wall and green cactus and shrub. It is one of my favorite pictures from the entire trip!