This holy site dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe is the most-visited shrine in North America. Located in Mexico City, the Basilica de Guadalupe occupies the place where the Virgin Mary appeared to the Indian peasant Juan Diego in 1531 and told him that she wished to have a church built in her honor. Her image was later miraculously imprinted upon his tunic.
Two basilicas stand at the shrine today. One was built in the eighteenth century; the other constructed in the 1970s. Inside the latter structure is Diego’s tunic, an object of veneration for pilgrims. The most popular time to visit the shrine is December 12, the feast day of the Virgin of Guadalupe. On holy days, some 50,000 people can be accommodated at mass in the basilica and surrounding area.
Did You Know? The basilica is constructed in a circular shape so that the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe on Diego’s tunic can be seen throughout the church.
Learn more: Mexico City’s Shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe
Next site: Santiago de Compostela, Spain
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Lori Erickson is one of America’s top travel writers specializing in spiritual journeys. She’s the author of the Near the Exit: Travels With the Not-So-Grim Reaper and Holy Rover: Journeys in Search of Mystery, Miracles, and God. Her website Spiritual Travels features holy sites around the world.