There’s no shortage of things to see and do in Santa Fe. You can spend days here visiting museums, enjoying our flavorful cuisine and soaking up the scenery against the backdrop of our amazing blue skies. Yet if you’re looking for something unique to experience during your next trip to Santa Fe, be sure to visit the Santuario de Guadalupe, one of the many living and hidden treasures in Santa Fe.
In The Beginning….
The Santuario de Guadalupe (The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe) in Santa Fe, established in the 1770’s, is the oldest standing shrine in the United States. It was built in honor of our Lady of Guadalupe and is an enduring landmark, commemorating the apparitions of Mary in 1531 to the Aztec peasant Juan Diego of Tepeyac, Mexico.
All Things Guadalupe
The Santuario de Guadalupe in Santa Fe has its own unique features. The Shrine consists of the historical chapel – the Santuario de Guadalupe; a new larger, Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, to accommodate the burgeoning parish; the El Cerro de Tepeyac – a walking path featuring six tile mosaics by the artist Arlene Cisneros Sena, illustrating the apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe to Juan Diego; and the newest addition, a 12-foot statue of our Lady of Guadalupe which stands in front of the Santuario de Guadalupe, greeting visitors.
Architectural Changes Through Time
The Santuario de Guadalupe is an adobe structure that sits off the banks of the Santa Fe River near the end of the Camino Real. The original church was constructed on a Latin cross floor plan, with thick 3 foot adobe walls, a flat roof supported by pine vigas, a dirt floor and a 3 tiered bell tower. The parish flourished until 1922 when a fire razed the church’s roof, collapsed the spire and damaged the painted frescoes. The walls and altar survived. Restoration this time was made in the style of a California Mission with a new pitched roof, a bell tower and a wooden floor.
In the Threads of Santa Fe video below, City of Santa Fe Historian, Ana Pacheco, shares the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
The Art of Santuario de Guadalupe
The historic Santuario de Guadalupe chapel is now an art and history museum. The Santuario contains the Archdiocese of Santa Fe’s collection of New Mexican santos (carved images of the saints), Italian Renaissance paintings, and Mexican baroque paintings. Among the treasured works is Our Lady of Guadalupe, one of the largest and finest oil paints of the Spanish Southwest, dated 1783 and signed by Jose de Alzibar, one of Mexico’s most renowned painters. This portrait now hangs behind the area where the altar once stood.
It is the largest painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the United States and presents a central, full-body image of the Virgin surrounded by four illustrations of the main events of the 1531 apparition story. The painting made the journey north by cart and in sections, up the Camino Real from Mexico City to Santa Fe.
Santa Fe’s unique architecture is one of the reasons for the immense popularity of this capital city, which is surrounded by majestic mountains with gentle slopes that resemble the soft curves of adobe walls. See why USA Today’s 10Best named Santa Fe one of the Best Historic Cities in the United States..
Bring your questing spirit to Santa and you will connect with rich cultural and history . Start planning today and order our 2016 Santa Fe travel guide. Be sure to also check out the Deals & Specials page. These special offers change seasonally to include: discounted room rates, dining specials, discounts to attractions and more !