San Juan de los Lagos is a small city in the state of Jalisco, Mexico. It is located in the region of Altos Norte, which was inhabited by the Nahua people before the Spanish conquest in the 16th century. The city is famous for its sanctuary of the Virgin of San Juan de los Lagos, one of the most visited religious sites in Mexico after the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City.
The History of the Sanctuary
The origin of the sanctuary dates back to the 1540s when a Franciscan friar named either Antonio de Segovia or Miguel de Bolonia brought an image of the Virgin Mary to the village of Mezquititlán, which was later renamed San Juan Bautista de Mezquititlán. The image was made of corn paste and painted with indigenous colors. It was kept in a small chapel where the natives prayed.
According to legend, in 1623, a young girl named Ana Lucia died after falling from a platform during a circus show. Her parents took her to the chapel and placed her next to the image of the Virgin, hoping for a miracle. After a few hours, the girl came back to life and attributed her recovery to the intercession of the Virgin. This event sparked a wave of devotion and pilgrimage to the image, which was soon recognized as miraculous by the Church.
The image was moved to a larger church in 1643, and then to a basilica in 1732. The basilica was rebuilt in 1769 in a neoclassical style with a dome and two towers. The image was crowned by Pope Pius XII in 1947 and declared patroness of Jalisco in 1952. Today, millions of pilgrims visit the sanctuary every year, especially on February 2nd, when the feast of the Virgin is celebrated.
The Attractions of the City
Besides the sanctuary, San Juan de los Lagos offers other attractions for visitors who want to explore its culture and history. Some of them are:
- The Municipal Palace, which houses a mural depicting the history of the city and its patroness.
- The Museum of Sacred Art, displays religious paintings, sculptures, vestments, and objects from different periods.
- The House of Culture, which hosts artistic and cultural events and workshops.
- The Plaza de Armas, which is surrounded by colonial buildings and monuments.
- The Market, sells local crafts, food, and souvenirs.
- Parque Morelos is a green space with fountains, statues, and playgrounds.
San Juan de los Lagos is a city that combines faith and culture in a unique way. It is a destination that invites visitors to discover its traditions, beauty, and hospitality.
Source: El Occidental