Today we did a tour of the churches in Santa Fe. We immersed ourselves in the prominent Catholic history of this area.
We went to four main churches in the city.
The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi is located in the heart of downtown Santa Fe. It's more commonly know as the Saint Francis Cathedral and was built between 1869 and 1886 on the site of an older adobe church. The church was designed in the Romanesque Revival style and features a rose window in the front, Corinthian columns, and round arches. You can click here to learn more.
The Loretto Chapel is a Roman Catholic church that is now used as a museum and wedding chapel. It's best known for it's "miraculous" staircase that seems to float in the air with no center beam to hold it in place. The staircase has no nails and the builder, who constructed it in 1887, was a stranger who offered to build the staircase, but demanded complete privacy while doing it. To this day, no one knows who the man was or where he got his lumber. Ten years later railings were added to the stairs at the request of the sisters. You can read more about it here.
El Santuario de Guadalupe was built around 1781. Today it serves as an art and history museum. Among its many treasures, the church contains Italian Renaissance paintings, Mexican Baroque paintings, one of the largest oil paintings of the Spanish Southwest "Our Lady of Guadalupe" painted in 1783, and the New Mexican Santos which are carved images of the saints. You can learn more about the church on their website by clicking here.
Last, and certainly not least, we visited the San Miguel Mission Church which is the oldest church in America. The church was built in the early 1600s, and services are still held there weekly. Even though the church has been repaired and rebuilt numerous times, its original adobe walls are still in tact. We were able to see cut-outs of the original walls and altar steps during our visit.