Tlaxcala Part II: Basilica de Ocotlan
The Basilica of Ocotlan is one of Mexico’s most spectacular churches. It sits on a hill above the city of Tlaxcala, which is the capital of the state of Tlaxcala. I had arrived here by bus, and had already visited a few sights in the city.
Continuing uphill, I was now headed toward the Basilica. The path up the hill was quite steep, and it was quite the strenuous hike. I’m in good shape, but steep stairs and 8200 feet of altitude are not a good combination for someone from the flat lands of the midwest.
The Basilica is an important pilgrimage site, the Virgin is believed to have appeared here in 1541. Construction started in 1670. The facade of the church is of the Churrigueresque style, red tile offset with white stucco decoration. It is often pointed to as the highpoint of Baroque style in Mexico. All of the Apostles are are represented on the front, as well as archangels, and saints Joseph and Francis of Assisi. A star shaped window is a stained glass image of the Immaculate Conception.
The interior is packed with beautiful gilded works, including the altars, a large retablo, columns, and seashell motifs. Paintings and statuary are interspersed. It’s breathtaking!