|Old The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico City|
According to the legend, Juan Diego was walking between his village and Mexico City on December 12, 1531 when Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared, speaking to him in his native Nahuatl language. She told him to build a church at the site. When Juan Diego spoke to the Spanish bishop, the bishop did not believe him, asking for a miraculous sign to prove his vision's authenticity. The Virgin appeared to Juan Deigo again and, although it was winter, told him to gather flowers.
|Our Lady of Guadalupe|
The original miraculous apron containing the image of the Virgin hangs behind bullet-proof glass above the altar in the new basilica. The basilica now houses a museum of ex-votos (hand-painted depictions of miracles, dedicated to Mary or a saint in gratitude) and popular religious art, paintings, sculpture, and decorative and applied arts from the 15th through 18th centuries.
The present church was constructed on the site of an earlier 16th-century church that was finished in 1709, the Old Basilica. When this basilica became dangerous due to the sinking of its foundations, a modern structure called the New Basilica was built next to it; the original image of the Virgin of Guadalupe is now housed in this New Basilica.
|New Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico|
To the sides are the chapels of the Santisimo and of Saint Joseph. It has 9 chapels on the upper floor. Under the main floor are the Basilica's crypts, with 15,000 niches and 10 chapels. Its seven front doors are an insinuation to the seven gates of Celestial Jerusalem referred to by Christ.