Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe lies to the north of Mexico City, 3.5 kilometres from the ancient city of ruins of Templo Mayor. The site is home to two basilicas, the old and the new. It is one of the country’s most important Catholic pilgrimage sites and visited by several million worshippers each year.
There are two basilicas within the square. The first “Old Basilica” was completed in 1709, it’s a dominant, architectural gem, which is, unfortunately, sinking into the ground. The new Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe located adjacent was constructed in 1974. It’s contemporary and circular floorplan is world’s away from the “Antigua Basilica” next door. It was constructed in such a way that the Virgin of Guadalupe can be viewed from any point in the building. To the sides are chapels of Saint Joseph and Santisimo, a further nine chapels grace the upper floor. Under the ground floor are the Basilica’s crypts with over 15,000 niches and a further ten chapels. Visitors should the take time to visit both basilicas, as they show past and present architecture. One of the highlights of a pilgrimage for many is a visit to see Juan Diego’s Cloak. The legend of the local shepherd dictates that the Virgin appeared to him with a message. Her image is burned into his cloak which is on display in the basilica. On 12th of December each year, on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the plaza floods with worshippers from all over the world. The atmosphere is incredible and shouldn’t be missed.
Arriving from the historic centre of Mexico City is relatively easy by metro. Embark from Hidalgo station, transferring at Deportivo 18 de Marzo and continuing to La Villa-Basilica. The basilica is just two blocks walk from here. Buses frequently operate from Constancia, north of Zócalo plaza to the basilica. Tours operate from many accommodations, and it is possible to travel via taxi or Uber.
Pilgrimages have been made to the site of Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe since 1531 before the Old Basilica was constructed. In recent years, the Old Basilica has begun to sink causing health and safety issues to visitors and the congregation. The new reinforced basilica was constructed in a circular design. The image of the Virgin of Guadalupe can be seen from all areas of the circular building. The new basilica welcomes thousands of worshippers at any one time and holds masses each day of the year.