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Mexico City

Pilgrims in procession to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadelupe

This page has not been updated since June 2014.

Christian (Catholic) pilgrim site

Founded by the Aztec people in the 14th century, Mexico City has grown into the largest metropolitan agglomeration in the Western hemisphere, with a population of over 21 million.

On a hill outside the city the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadelupe is one of the most visited pilgrimage sites in the world, thought to bring over 20 million visitors a year.

The Basilica marks the place where, in 1531, a Mexican peasant had a vision of the Virgin Mary who instructed him to build a church in her honour. Several miraculous events followed, including the appearance of the image now known as The Virgin of Guadalupe (this icon is on display in the Basilica) and the church was built as a consequence.

Pilgrims setting up makeshift tents outside the Basilica in Mexico City
9 million pilgrims attend the festivities of the celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe which is held in mid December each year. After the Celebration, however, the streets are covered with plastic bottles, cans, with human and dog waste, the air is polluted with traffic, fireworks and firecrackers and the city’s parks and flowerbeds are damaged.

Now the government plans to launch the first green pilgrimage to the Basilica of Guadalupe -The Guadalupana Green Pilgrimage 2013- which will take place this December. Working with government ministries, schools, the media and the Basilica itself it will 'green' the flagship pilgrimage routes from the west and the northwest, introduce an anti litter campaign for pilgrims, set up new hydration stops along pilgrimage routes and new environmentally friendly portable restrooms for pilgrims. The message of green pilgrimage will be promoted during Sunday masses.

Mexico City website

Shrine of Our Lady of Guadelupe website

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