Photo Walk at the Basilica de Guadalupe
Early on Sunday morning I met Kate and Alex, from Texas, in the Centro Histórico and took them up to the Basilica de Guadalupe. Fortunately, the wet weather we had been having disappeared and the skies were clear and blue. It happened to be a busy morning up at the Basilica.
First we took pictures of the large square in the soft morning light and inside the New Basilica where one of the early masses was being held. Downstairs we got on the moving belt to take some closer pictures of the “Tilma” (cloak) of Juan Diego where the image of the Virgen de Guadalupe is imprinted. I explained the story to them and the importance of the Virgen to Mexican culture.
The light in the Old Basilica was beautiful but perhaps the most unusual aspect is just how much the building leans and how odd it feels to walk uphill to the altar and down to the main door.. not unlike being a bit car sick. We then saw an even greater example of sinking buildings and crooked walls and doors in the Chapel of the Indians before photographing the beautiful blue-and-white tiled dome of the Templo del Pocito and its ornate interior.
The grounds of the Basilica are enormous and we wandered up to the small pond and the group of statues making up the “Ofrenda” and climbed up the steps to the top of Tepeyac Hill. The views over the city and looking down on the Basilicas were clear, and watched over by a couple of towering white angels. Inside the small church at the top were some murals explaining the story of Juan Diego and the apparition of the Virgen de Guadalupe, supposedly at this very spot.
We then went down to the shops outside the grounds and saw the men with their small birds telling fortunes and a whole group of cyclists arriving on a pilgrimage. Back in the large open square at the top, we went over to photograph a large community from San Lorenzo in the Valley of Teotihuacán who make an annual pilgrimage here on the last Sunday of April and re-enact the “Danza de Moros y Cristinos”, a festival originally from Spain commemorating the battle between the Moors (Muslims) and Christians in the 13th Century during the Reconquista. It did seem slightly odd to see the Christians wearing mariachi hats and, in some places in Mexico, the Moors have even been replaced by Aztecs. The people were so friendly and insisted that we join them for tacos and agua de jamaica.
So all in all, we saw a bit of everything and came back with some great photographs.