the blog of Seldom Seen Photography

Chimayo

Santuario de ChimayoEl Santuario de Chimayo is Catholic church and shrine in New Mexico about 30 miles north of Santa Fe. It is located in the town of Chimayo, along on the High Road to Taos.  While the high road has a number of other adobe churches worth photographing, Chimayo offers much more. Besides the main church, there is another smaller chapel near by, a trading post, and colorful grounds where the faithful pray and leave offerings. If in Santa Fe, it is well worth the drive to Chimayo to see the church and grounds.

If you do visit, you probably will not be alone. Sometimes called the “Lourdes of America,” Wikipedia claims Chimayo has 300,000 visitors per year and is the most important Catholic pilgrimage site in the United States. The main church, El Santuario, has a adobe-walled courtyard and twin bell towers topped with crosses. The nave is decorated with a large carved crucifix and various altarpieces, all from the 1800s. On the side of the nave is a separate prayer room/vestibule literally lined with hundreds discarded crutches from people believed to be healed from the “holy dirt” of the church. One wall of the prayer room, as well as many other walls elsewhere on the grounds, is covered with photographs of people also helped by the shire. The holy dirt is located  within a hole in the floor of a small room attached to the prayer room. When we visited, a woman was kneeling on the floor, scooping holy dirt into a Ziploc bag to take home.

The second church is the Chapel of Santa Niño de Atocha. The chapel was built in 1856, but fell into disrepair to be renovated by the Archdiocese of Santa Fe in the early 1990s as a children’s chapel. It is decorated with modern artwork, but still maintains its historic feel.

Unfortunately, photography within both the churches is prohibited. However, many wonderful photographs can be captured by walking around the grounds and in the nearby portions of the town as you can see by the examples I’ve posted below.

Certain parts of the grounds are full of crosses and other items left by pilgrims and visitors to the site.

Certain parts of the grounds are full of crosses and other items left by pilgrims and visitors to the site.

The door to the Santo Nino Chapel

The door to the Santo Nino Chapel

The Virgil Trading Post

The Potrero Trading Post and Virgil Store

Cross in the courtyard of the Santuario de Chimayo

Cross in the courtyard of the Santuario de Chimayo

Shire to the Virgin Mary, covered with rosaries and candles

Shire to the Virgin Mary, covered with rosaries and candles

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7 responses

  1. Pingback: Chimayo — joebeckerphoto – Arte y Cultura Perú

  2. good morning

    April 30, 2016 at 7:48 pm

  3. Really an interesting commentary and images Joe. Thanks so much for sharing my friend!

    April 30, 2016 at 11:14 pm

  4. Wow, amazing building!

    May 1, 2016 at 12:24 am

  5. I’ve been to Chimayo! Your great post brought back memories of that wonderful trip years ago. Thanks.

    May 1, 2016 at 2:32 am

  6. It’s a special place with uncommon atmosphere. And so many beautiful little details worth shooting. Thanks for sharing.

    May 1, 2016 at 5:57 am

  7. Eu achei muito bom, lindo trabalho.

    May 1, 2016 at 7:16 am

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