16 facts about the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe
The Basilica is located in the northern area of Mexico City - Photo: Henry Romero/REUTERS

16 facts about the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe

11/12/2018
14:20
Newsroom
Mexico City
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Inside you can find Saint Juan Diego's blanket, the “canvas” where, according to the Catholic faith, the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe is portrayed and which shows her pregnancy

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1. Its official name is the “Distinguished and National Basilica of Saint María of Guadalupe” and the most visited Marian site in the world.

2. It's visited by between 17 and 20 million tourists each year.

3. Most parts of its modern architecture were planned by the architect Pedro Ramírez Vázquez.

4. Its construction began in 1974 and was finished in 1976.

5. The exterior represents the Virgin's mantle that “covers” those who come to visit her.

6. Inside you can find Saint Juan Diego's blanket, the “canvas” where, according to the Catholic faith, the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe is portrayed and which shows her pregnancy, among other symbols.

7. Her stature in the cloth is 4.6 feet.

8. Her tunic has a Náhuatl symbol: the Nahui Ollin flower that represents, according to some interpretations, the “presence of God.”

9. The appearance of Our Lady of Guadalupe was registered on December 12, 1531.

10. Since 1531 and until today, five temples have been built at the Hill of Tepeyac, in honor of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

11. It's been calculated that this year, the Lady of Guadalupe will be visited by 8 million people.

12. Did you know you can send a message to the Virgin? The Basilica's website has a section where you can send a message to her?

13. If you want to visit the Basilica you can schedule a guided tour three days before. During the tour, you will learn about its history and the appearance of the Lady of Guadalupe. It's free and groups can be formed by two and up to 35 people. The difference with the private tours is that very few provide precise information, says Gabriela Treviño, the head of the area. The tour lasts 45 minutes and up to an hour and a half. Children are allowed. The guides are experts on the topic and professional in architecture, art, psychology, and communication.

14. There is an embossed image of the Virgin inside the New Basilica, accompanied by text in Braille so that the visually impaired can touch it. The image was made by Italian artist Franco Faranda, in 2008, with the support of the Institute of Italian Culture in Mexico and was donated to the Basilica, and was later blessed by Pope Benedict XVI. The artist portrayed her as a young woman between 18 and 20 years old.

15. The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe has its own museum of sacred and religious art formed by paintings, marble and ivory sculptures, engravings, textiles, gold work, furniture, and a collection of 2,000 votive offerings from the 19th and 20th century.

16. Previous to the colonization, in the Hill of Tepeyac, Aztecs worshiped a female goddess: Tonantzin, whose name means “Our Mother” in Náhuatl.

And one more fact! Nican Mopohua, “Here it's told”, in Náhuatl, is the oldest story where the appearance of the Lady of Guadalupe is told.

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