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Fay Stout | profile | all galleries >> Galleries >> Mexico... Day of the Dead, El Santuario de Atotonílco tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Mexico... Day of the Dead, El Santuario de Atotonílco

Located about 7 miles northeast of San Miguel de Allende is the little village of Atotonílco (Place of the Hot Waters). It is here that we find the Holy Shrine of Atotonílco, often referred to as "The Sistine Chapel of the Americas". Construction was begun in 1740. It was the artist Miguel Antonio Martinez de Pocasangre who painted the murals that have made this church so famous.

As many as 100,000 people a year have made pilgrimages to the shrine and some take part in religious exercises... crawling around the perimeter of the shrine on bare and bloody knees, wearing crowns of thorns, flagellating themselves with whips, and sleeping in stone cells on cold rock floors.

There is an annual pilgrimage from the sanctuary to San Miguel. The procession of several thousand pilgrims begins at midnight and arrives in San Miguel at the first light of day following a 6 1/2 hour walk, with people singing and carrying brass lanterns to light the way. Bonfires blaze alongside the road and showers of fireworks light up the sky ahead of the procession.

The church has been chosen as a Unesco National Heritage site and when we visited, the extensive restoration was taking place.

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We enter through these heavy wood carved doors...
We enter through these heavy wood carved doors...
We peer through the scaffolding to see more...
We peer through the scaffolding to see more...
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