Basilica de Nuestra Senora de Ocotlan

Basilica de Nuestra Senora de Ocotlan

Basilica de Nuestra Senora de Ocotlan
4.5

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Bob C
APIZACO, TLAXCALA71 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2012 • Friends
According to Legend in 1541 Juan Diego an Indigenous peasant while searching for firewood in a pine forest was confronted by a beautiful lady next to a spring of clear water who told him drink this water and it will cure you of all ills, even if its only one drop. There was an epidemic of smallpox going on at the time and Juan shared the water with many and cured them.
The Sanctuary and Basilica of the Virgen of Ocotlan was built here and the Chapel of the well of Holy Water. Considered one of the most important Temples inthe State, the Front Facade made of brick and mortar in Baroque Style . Decorated with many Religious Icons and themes you can see the figure of the Virgen, twelve apostles, Saint Francis of Asis, Saint Joseph, six archangels and the four Doctors of Religion, Saint Ambrose, Saint Jerome, Saint Augustine and SaintGregory. Inside the Temple we find very ornate panels featuring various Saints but the Main feature is Our Lady of Ocotlan. Sometimes it's permitted to enter the Virgens dressing room which has many paintings of her meeting with Juan Diego... Not permitted if Mass is going on. The Chapel of the Well is also free entrance and if you take a container, or you can purchase one at the site they will gladly give you water . There is a souvenir shop there as well. The Well has murals depicting biblical aquatic scenes.
There is Public transport that goes from downtown to the Shrine but it can be gotten to by hiking to the site, a little strenous but not bad if you take your time,
Written October 23, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Lionel L
Trinidad1,031 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2013 • Couples
Did this trip in 2009. This was one of the Basilicas on the agenda and the place of the Miraculous waters. It is sought after by visitors because of the healing powers contained therein.
Written July 13, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Soledad2009
Santa Fe, NM143 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2013 • Solo
The Basilica de Ocotlan shouldn't be missed if you visit Tlaxcala. This is considered one of Mexico's most spectacular churches. The white domes can be seen from town. The inside of the church is extremely baroque and a feast for the eyes. I would definitely visit it again and recommend it to my friends.
Written February 17, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Marco_Polo499
Milan, Italy273 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2015 • Couples
This is one of the most revered Sanctuaries of Mexico. The name comes from the Ocotlán hill, on the top of which the Sanctuary is perched. The church was built after the appearance of the Virgin Mary to a local countryman in 1541, but the present building dates from the 18th century. The church is extolled as one of the best examples of Mexican Baroque architecture; actually, the interior is absolutely wonderful, whereas the exterior looks rather “pop” and perplexing. Anyway, the church is definitely worth a visit. Plan to stay about half an hour.

The interior of the building has a very simple structure (a nave and a small transept), but its decoration is extraordinarily rich and beautiful, actually one of the richest I have seen in Mexico. The apse and the two transepts are fully covered (wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling) with Churrigueresque altars, sculpted and gilded. The walls of the nave are taken up by 6 enormous paintings encased in molded and gilded frames. Any other available space is filled with ornaments. The whole appears harmonious and well-proportioned; at the same time, it is absolutely impressive. Looking at this interior justifies the trip to Tlaxcala.

The exterior is eye-catching but, in certain sense, odd and perplexing. Actually, the structure of the building is very elegant, but a questionable use of colours debases the brilliant work of the architects. The façade, profusely sculpted in Churrigueresque style, was smothered with a layer of white plaster, and the same fate occurred to the summit of the beautiful bell-towers. The sense of drama, typical of the baroque scenarios, has completely been lost, and the façade now looks kinda a gigantic wedding-cake adorned with white figurines. I have been told that this unfortunate arrangement was made out of necessity, since the façade was not sculpted, but fabricated with juxtaposed bricks, like a "lego"; the assemblage was then plastered and finally whitewashed.

The sanctuary is on the top of a hill, less than 1 mile from the centre. It is possible to go there on foot, but it's more practical to take one of the frequent micro-buses marked Ocotlán, (6.50 Pesos = 0.47 US $); they will drop you at the church. In front of the church there are stalls catering to the visitors and selling souvenirs.
Written May 27, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Craig T
San Rafael, CA1,016 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2014 • Friends
It's a good, healthy hike up to the hill this church is on. Great views of the city and Popocatepetl. The church is beautiful inside, although there were many scaffolds up when we visited for restoration.
Written November 10, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

jeffrey h
Kailua-Kona, HI547 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2012 • Couples
If you are planning a visit to Talaxcala, you might place this plan under review. We were drawn to this small Mexican city primarily by the report in the Lonely Planet Guide, Mexico City, published in 2008. As far as I can tell, this is still the benchmark travel guide for this city in English. A couple articles on the internet backed up this point of view, so I thought it important to file an alternative report.

In the LP guide Daniel Schecter writes of a small city with a well preserved colonial center. The implication is that the administrative center of Mexico has moved on, but the colonial buildings of Tlaxcala are representative of a larger presence two hundred years ago. I’m here to tell you that the vice-regal administrative buildings are smaller than those in Coyocan, sort of squat and unimpressive, albeit in a peaceful sort of way.
We were seduced into staying on the zocalo. While it is tranquil much of the time, and has its fair share of greenery, compared to other Mexican towns, this zocalo is no reason per se to spend a night in Talaxcala. We spent three! By comparison, Coyocan and Puebla each boast a zocalo that will take your breath away. In Talaxcala expect no grand fountains, amazing plantings, monumental churches or other palatial structures on the zocalo.
The zocalo is an integral part of the community, though. It hosts exercise class in the morning and on Friday night we danced to a live band with the older seniors by the central gazebo.
The local museums are pathetic. Unless you consider three small, poorly executed Frida Kahlo paintings a treasure to be sought.

One of the main reasons we came to Tlaxcala was a quest for the pilgrimage church. The Virgen de Ocotlan appeared here in 1541 to a Tlaxcala (Indian) named Juan Diego Bernardino. Little finds it way into the English speaking press regarding this encounter other than (erroneously) the Basilica de Ocotlan is located on the site of this meeting. Why did she appear? What did she say to Juan Diego? And why is this encounter less important than the one that occurred (ten years earlier) on a hill named Guadalupe on the north shore of Lake Texcoco?
On our first full day we set out to visit this pilgrimage church. Sr Schecter says it is one of “Mexico’s most spectacular.” I was pumped.

In deference to my sweetie’s hurt foot, we took a taxi up to the Basilica de Ocotlan. Immediately things went south. The taxi fare was 40 P. I attempted to pay with a 100 (about 9 USD). No hay cambio. In fact, none of the little shops that sold food and knick knacks were willing to change this small note …even if I bought something. Bizarre and not exactly a harbinger of good things to come. The driver trusted us to pay him when we returned to the hotel. Jose is OK.

So we visited the church. Our first impression was, “This is the most beautiful church?!! NOT!” The outside is quite unimpressive…it could be mistaken for a gazillion other Mexican churches. The single vault boasts a tall gilded altar and a similarly gilded chapel, but nothing seemed all that impressive. The Virgin Mary above the altar and behind glass may be the virgin statue that was found in the famous encounter in 1541, but this is not entirely clear. I love old churches. See some of my other reviews. This church was simply unlovable.

We tried to walk around the church to get a view of the supposedly lovely exterior and had a near death experience with a garbage truck, all to no avail. There are no good views of the church from the exterior.
Boy, were we disappointed. I’m not exactly Roman Catholic, but I believe in God and get a very special feeling in most churches. Not this one. Que triste.

So we exited the main gate and the Redoubtable SKG and I began the descent to the centro. After one block, we encountered a choice in path. A larger dusty road to the right appeared to be the one we had taken in the taxi, but a smaller road, that headed straight down the steep hill had a sign pointing to a church. “A few churches in the centro,” I thought to myself. At this early morning crossroads there was a lady washing her sidewalk while her elderly father supervised. We asked directions in our best broken Espanol, She recommended the smaller steeper road straight ahead.
A block down this precipitous calle we had a chance to confirm her information with a lady sweeping her driveway. At the bottom of the long block we noted a sign directing traffic to the left. Still, our consultant said, “Derecha.” with the appropriate hand signal. The road, with a wonderful set of wide steps, meandered steeply for another two blocks, with good views of the city, such as it is. Towards the bottom we happened upon a single blue and white ceramic dome.

A few steps further and we found ourselves at a small domed chapel. A plaque on the outside informed us that the chapel of El Pocito is at the place where the Virgin appeared to Juan Diego. The Tlaxcalas were suffering a terrible epidemic and Mary directed the indio to a well whose blessed water would save the tribe. She also directed Juan Diego to notify the church authorities and search for a sign in the nearby forest. The priests pried into a tree and recovered a statue of the virgin that may be the one in the basilica.

A smaller chapel had existed on this spot, but recently the local Obispo had this tidy structure erected. The murals inside were painted by local Tlaxcala Indians. And the water from the well is there in plastic garbage cans for you to enjoy.
I could barely believe our good fortune. It was as if the Holy Spirit had a hand in bringing us to this chapel that sings with the truth of His presence. Unbeknowst to us, we had been following the steps created for the pilgrims who visit the basilica and then the chapel and the well! The murals, picturing Mary, the Indians and conquistadores are alive with color. And I tingled with joy as I anointed myself from the spring water.
Cups are provided. On a later visit I sat with three Mexicanos of about my age. One drank a full glass. So I plucked up my courage and quaffed an ounce or so. It may have changed my life. Who knows?

Below the chapel is a park run by the ayuntamiento. I am an out of the closet bird watcher and had hoped to see some birds here in Tlaxcala, which is safe enough to walk around in, even in the small wooded corners. Up to this time we had seen no birds of merit. Here we saw three species of wintering North American warblers. On later visits I saw a few more good Mexican birds. There are benches in the park and it is peaceful place to rest.
A walk down the hill from the basilica is recommended. However, the park and chapel can be accessed from Xicohtencatl, the second street over from the zocalo. Take Xico to the end, turn right where the road Ts at the pink church. And veer left in one block.
And Vaya con Dios.

If you speak Spanish or run into a Mexican tourist who speaks English (this peaceful town has a substantial allure to middle class Mexicans from the DF) you will find that the sacred well is no secret at all. Why it is not found in tourist literature in English is a complete mystery.

Jeff

Birds of the Parque de Ocotlan

House Finch
Gray Towhee
Black tailed Gnatcatcher
Townsends Warbler
Audubon’s Warbler
Prothonotary Warbler
Bendire’s Thrasher
So House Wren
Gray Breasted Wood Wren
Hooded Oriole
Great Tailed Grackle
Written December 16, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

R D
5 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2022
Attended a baptism here, most beautiful church I've seen, all layered in gold wih statues imbedded in wall. There is a back room with murals of the crucifixion and the last supper, there is a smaller room behind the virgin that is just as extravagant and took artist 25 years to construct, worth seeing and taking the bus tour of tlaxcala, nice quiet colonial town, recommend the restaurant, La Casona with the donkey in front of it, one block off the town square.
Written August 1, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sandy S
Albuquerque, NM1,018 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2021
We wrapped up our visit to Tlaxcala with La Basílica de Nuestra Señora Ocotlán, a popular pilgrimage site thanks to the belief that the Virgin Mary appeared there during a plague in 1541 and caused curing waters to bubble from a spring. This stunning example of Mexican Baroque sits in a hilly residential neighborhood. The plaza in front affords a sweeping view of the city and the surrounding countryside. Topping the red brick base, the church’s ornately carved white towers almost seem to levitate. The interior manages to be stunning without being over-the-top. In the nave, gilded frames surround religious paintings reminiscent of late 19th Century Bible illustrations, leaving the shimmering gold altar and the spectacular ceiling of the dome to steal the show.
Written September 16, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jere-DePaul
Jocotepec, Mexico104 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2018 • Friends
Situated on a hill above the city of Tlaxcala, the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Ocotlan, built in the 16th century, is one of the main Catholic pilgrimage sites in Mexico. It's a long up-hill climb to get there but, if you're a fan of beautiful churches with Mexican Baroque architecture, or a believer in miracles, it might be worth the trip.
Written January 12, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

MariaTonis
Bolingbrook, IL12 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2016 • Family
Only about 10 years after the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, that Our Lady of Ocotlan appeared to Juan Diego (no relation to the Juan Diego of OLG). Since there was a plague she provided him a miraculous spring so the Indians could drink and be cured. The celebrations is held on January 1st and in May. The church is beautiful and nearby a few blocks away and down a steep set of stairs, you can go to the spring and drink the water as well as take some home with you. They have a little gift store as well.
Written August 26, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Basilica de Nuestra Senora de Ocotlan, Tlaxcala

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