San Juan de los Lagos, México

The small town of San Juan de los Lagos is located in the state of Jalisco and is about an hour west of León. The main attraction in the town is the downtown cathedral, la Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de San Juan de los Lagos (the Church of Our Lady of San Juan de los Lagos), which receives about 4 million pilgrims per year. Some travel for days, weeks, or even months, to get to the second most visited cathedral in Mexico. The history of the church began in 1542 when Father Miguel de Bologna, a Spanish priest, brought a statue of the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception to the village. In that year, the daughter of some local Indian peasants became very ill. Her parents prayed for her health, and she recovered. Following the miracle, the statue began to be visited by an increasing number of pilgrims, and it is still visited today. Pilgrims usually visit the Virgin seeking or giving thanks for a miracle. 

                    The church, begun in 1732, was built in Mexican Baroque style, with Spanish and French influences. The statue of the Virgin was installed in 1769, and the bell towers were completed in 1790. Inside the church upon a platform with an upturned crescent moon stands the statue of the Virgin.

The Church of Our Lady of San Juan de los Lagos. A view of the twin bell towers.


A view above the entrance of the church.


A view looking up towards one of the towers.

A view of the altar inside the church.


A closer view of the altar. The Virgin is enclosed in a glass case in the center of the altar, just above the center floral arrangement. She wears blue and white robes. I was not able to get many pictures of the inside because it was so crowded.


This was another church we visited in San Juan de los Lagos. I have not been able to find any information about it since everything I find is about the main cathedral. This church was much more simple inside, yet still beautiful.

A view of the altar.


A statue of Jesus on one side of the church.


Another statue of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit (as a dove) on the other side of the church.


A statue of Joseph and the baby Jesus on the right side of the altar.


The statue of Mary and the baby Jesus on the left side of the altar.


The crucifix in the center of the altar.

A photo taken in the central plaza. After our visit to these two churches, we looked at some of the street vendors' wares and bought a few souvenirs. 

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All photos on this site copyright 2008 by Tara Guthrie.